November 30th has been declared National Meth Awareness Day, a nationwide effort that aims to educate the American public about the effects of methamphetamine abuse on families and communities. As part of the initiative, it hopes to increase awareness and decrease demand for the highly-addictive drug.
The West Hollywood Project is Celebrating National Meth Awareness by hosting two events, one in Silverlake (at Akbar, located at 4356 Sunset Blvd), and the other at West Hollywood Park at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard (picnic area near Robertson Boulevard), beginning at 7:30 p.m. (there is an additional event at Stache WeHo, 8941 Santa Monica Blvd.) The event will provide overdose prevention information and resources along with Fentanyl Test Strips and Naloxone nasal sprays.
The West Hollywood Project is an ongoing, centralized effort to help promote Alcohol and Drug (AOD) Free events, activities and civic opportunities in the West Hollywood area. They promote specific events such as #SIZZLE! at LA Pride and #BOOM!, the annual New Year’s Eve event in West Hollywood. The West Hollywood Project is a Project of the Institute for Public Strategies and funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control.
A national survey found one out of six young adults has used illicit drugs in the last month. Brain scientists now know why just one use of crystal meth (methamphetamine) can make a person feel hooked.
The awareness day is an effort to send a prevention message to potential meth users. It also gets the message out about available programs to current users. In some parts of the country, meth use is increasing while in others it continues to rise.
Part of the reason meth is so addictive is it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine occurs naturally in our brains. It affects our body’s reward centers as well as our movement, motivation, and reinforcement. It’s the impact on this area of the brain that makes methamphetamine so addictive.
Beyond the short-term effects of alertness, increased physical activity, reduced or no appetite, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure, continued use of methamphetamine has long-term health effects.
- risk of diseases transmitted through needles
- extreme weight loss
- dental problems including tooth loss and gum disease
- sleeping disorders
- memory loss
- skin issues
However, there is help. Visit Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) to learn about the referral program. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The page is full of resources for adults, teens, and family members. There, you can find support for yourself and others who may be facing addiction. There is a way out and a life after addiction. Visit the helpline at: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.
In a proclamation signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, November 30th was set forth as National Meth Awareness Day. The observance serves two purposes. First, it aims to reach potential users with prevention methods. Second, the day increases awareness of programs and services available to current users.
Q. Can a user overdose on meth?
A. Yes. According to the CDC, all drug overdose deaths are on the increase, including those from meth.
Q. What can I do to prevent an overdose?
A. If you or someone you know is using an opioid like meth, one of the first things you can do is speak to a physician to ask for help. You can also:
- Learn the signs of addiction.
- Learn about and how to administer naloxone.
- Understand recovery is possible. Find resources near you that offer treatment and encourage the user to seek treatment.
- Share the observance on social media.