Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Roanoke, VA
Drugs have been seeping into homes across the country, and opioids are the drug of choice for most users. That is changing in the town of Roanoke, Virginia where methamphetamine is pouring into the town. There is still a very high instance of opioid abuse including heroin, and morphine with fentanyl killing hundreds. However, meth is starting to challenge those numbers. Often when someone starts to abuse drugs like meth and heroin it can seem like there is no way out. That is not true. Drug rehabilitation and the commitment to a sober life can lead to a new beginning.
What is Roanoke, VA Like?
Roanoke, VA has a population of almost 100,000 people. The median household income is half of the rest of Virginia. The median age is 38, and the town self-reports being roughly half female and half male. Homes are valued at around $160,000, the gross rent is $750, and the cost of living index is less than the national average of 100 at 86.1
Will Meth Ever Really Go Away?
Even if the area looks clean the methamphetamine leaves an invisible residue and vapor. An apartment can cost $15,000 to decontaminate and a house can cost up to $40,000. If a meth lab has been found in an apartment building all of the units must be evacuated. No one can bring any of their possessions with them.
When someone is purchasing meth, they are funding these labs and the criminal organizations that profit from the labs. Meth labs are a danger to the people and homes surrounding the lab as well as the people in the lab itself. Explosions can be easily triggered and they often release a plume of anhydrous ammonia along with other vapors. Anhydrous ammonia will kill instantaneously. If one of these explosions were to occur in an apartment building the results could be catastrophic.
Where is Meth Most Common?
Meth is very popular in rural settings. However, because it is so cheap and easy to find it is still very popular in more urban areas of the United States. Rural areas, though, can often house ‘super labs’ that are hidden in the large tracts of farmland that sometimes surround cities. Most of these super labs are based in California but the meth is quickly and efficiently passed throughout the country and into Virginia.
How Do I Know if a Loved One is Addicted?
One of the more dramatic effects of meth is violent crime. People have been reported to kill their own young children and sometimes themselves in gruesome ways in a methamphetamine rage. Another one of the problems that meth is most notorious for on in day to day setting is theft. People will often pawn their own possession or steal other’s things to pay for their drug habit.
Some indicators that someone you know or your loved one might be addicted to methamphetamines are:
- Weight loss
- Strange sleeping patterns
- Obsessively picking at skin or hair
- Rapid eye movements
- New facial tics
- Erratic behavior
- Violent behavior
Where Does Meth Come From?
Meth can be produced in small labs in homes, it can also be produced by major drug cartels throughout the United States and Mexico.
The cartels often do not market the drugs themselves. They sell them to ‘retail’ dealers. These are the people that most people with drug addiction disorders buy their drugs from. However, if a local dealer or anyone else owes the cartel money the results can be disastrous. One person was pistol-whipped through his house as his attackers demanded their money.
Dangerous Side-Effects of Meth Drug Cartels
One of the most important issues with drugs isn’t just the addiction itself. It’s the high level of crime that comes with it. A meth lab can cost a prohibitive amount to clean up. While it might seem like taping off abandoned labs and putting ‘do not trespass’ signs on the site might stop people from coming into contact with the hazardous material, teens and children are notorious for ignoring such signs.
The cartels are extremely dangerous organizations. Due to Mexican drug cartels, over 200,000 people have died or are missing in Mexico and the violence is spilling over to the United States.
The Effects of Long-Term Meth Abuse
If you do not get your loved one into treatment they can get in trouble with drug dealers bigger than their local dealer. There is also brain damage that goes along with long term methamphetamine use.
Some of the troubling long-term problems symptoms of meth abuse are:
- Extreme weight loss
- Reduced coordination
- Sleeping problems
- Impaired verbal learning
- Violent behavior
These symptoms can be life-changing and cause much emotional and physical pain. There is hope, however. After a long period of time, the severity of many of these symptoms will lessen. This all depends on getting the person into a drug rehabilitation facility. It also requires the person who abuses methamphetamine to commit to a lifetime of sobriety. Positive change can occur, but it will take time.
Some of the Other Dangers of Meth Use
Besides being physically dangerous to themselves and other people who abuse meth can also contract a variety of health problems. Some of these problems are from sharing needles that are used to inject the meth, others are from the sexual activity that many people who take meth engage in during their uninhibited high.
Many people who abuse methamphetamines are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from shared needles. In animal testing meth is shown to increase the viral replication of HIV. Someone who uses meth and has HIV often tends to show greater neuronal damage and greater cognitive impairment than someone who does not abuse meth. This problem is worsened because people who abuse meth tend to take their antiretroviral medication less regularly.
What Happens to a Fetus that is Exposed to Meth?
One of the less talked about problems with meth is the effect that it has on fetuses. Fetuses whose mothers took methamphetamine and passed into the fetus’s system put the fetus at risk for:
- Small size
- Small heart size
- Small brain size
Will a Fetus That is Exposed to Meth Have Life-Long Problems?
A child who was exposed to meth as a fetus grows it will experience a number of developmental problems including:
- Behavioral issues
- Self-control issues
- School-related difficulties
- Difficulties with executive function
Instead of acting out aggressively or loudly, some children who were exposed to meth in the womb will become anxious and depressed as they grow older. They will have a hard time making friends. Some researchers are especially worried about these children. Children who make a lot of noise often get noticed and get treatment. It is the quiet, anxious ones that go between the cracks one researcher noted. This researcher goes on to emphasize how important this phase of life is.
The Impact of Substance Abuse in Roanoke, VA
Methamphetamine problems are not the only dangers plaguing the Roanoke, VA area. Opioids are also common drugs in the city and its suburbs. There were over 1,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in Virginia. That is 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people. This is slightly above the national average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Are Opioids a Problem in VA?
Non-methadone synthetic opioid deaths skyrocketed from 89 deaths in 2012 to 829 deaths in 2017. When it comes to prescription opioids only the type of overdose drug has changed. The number of overdose deaths from prescription opioids has remained stable. It is the drug that is killing the most people that has changed. These numbers are a few years behind, but this part of an official nation-wide study. There is no national database of numbers for this study to draw on so compiling these figures is slower than news reports which often deal with more localized numbers.
Narcan as an Overdose Solution
Narcan and naloxone will not work on a meth overdose. Narcan was developed to reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Although both meth and opioids like heroin create pleasurable feelings they are two completely different categories of drugs. Just like you cannot treat pneumonia the same way you would asthma what works for one will not work for the other. There is no Narcan equivalent treatment for meth overdose.
What Do I Do if Someone Near Me is Overdosing from Meth?
If someone near you is overdosing from meth:
- Call 9-1-1 and be ready to give the person’s age and weight along with how much meth they consumed and how long ago
- Call the poison control hotline
- If the person is experiencing a seizure gently hold the back of their head to prevent them from injuring themselves
- Turn the person’s head to the side to reduce their chance of choking on their own vomit
- Do NOT attempt to hold their arms or legs
How Do I Help?
If you or a loved one are abusing meth or other drugs, now is the time to quit. Not will meth destroy you as a person, it damages your community and family. If you are not careful it can take your life.When you are ready to seek treatment for your addiction you can visit our site or call us at: (866) 350-5622