Sunday, February 4, 2007

Meth, etc.

I would just like to comment about methamphetamine, a street drug I see people high on all the time at work. Likely some of my comments will apply to other drugs, too. You know, it is amazing to me the vast diversity of people out there, personalities ranging from quiet and unassuming, to vibrant and noisy; cheerful people, angry people, passive aggressive people; hurting people, boisterous people, joyful people, confused people...it makes me smile. There are several theories of personality out there, and the one I think rings most true is that we are born with innate temperaments, and are further shaped by our life experiences. This makes us incredibly diverse, yet not so diverse that we can't understand each other if we give it a good effort and listen well. This is divine design, I think, because then we have people who fill all kinds of roles in life, and we have those who teach, those who farm, those in medicine, those who fix broken stuff, etc.
For those people who feel lost, or depressed, or forgotten, or broken somehow beyond repair, or bored, or neglected, or whatever it is that drives them to get high, and who decide to try Meth (which, by the way, is made from drain cleaner and cold medicine and a few other household items cooked up in a grimy bunsen burner lab), something happens to that diversity. The meth addicts start to look the same. They have wild, glassy eyes, and pink sores on their faces and torsos. They are pale, with dark rings around their eyes, and brittle hair, and their movements are exaggerated. The meth addicts start to act the same, also. They are aggressive, paranoid, irrational, and they become dishonest and untrustworthy because of their overwhelming desire to get high, and get high, and get high.
I wish I could show my kids this stuff. Don't get high, don't get high, don't get high.
Those of us who work with meth addicts get so that we can spot them without talking to them, because they are so similar to each other.
Another characteristic that is lost in them is empathy. Most of us feel at least marginally responsible for those around us, including our neighbours, the kids in the school down the street, and our family members. But those in the meth business lose this (though you could look at other examples in history and blame this loss on greed because of the money involved), which is how you have meth labs in homes next to daycares and schools, meth addicts who are pregnant but can't stop getting high, and meth labs in the backseat of cars, travelling around manufacturing and selling meth in mobile units. I have heard of three incidents in the past six months where paramedics I know attended car accidents where one of the vehicles involved had a meth lab in its back seat. In one incident in particular, my friend was in the backseat of an SUV attempting to extricate a man from the tangled up mess, and realized after 15 minutes or so that the funny smell in the vehicle happened to be the chemicals in the backseat, which were now leaking. She was sick for days, in hospital and on quarantine because she was contaminated with meth lab crap. It is one thing to load your body with drano and cold medicine, and another thing to load your paramedic, firefighter, neighbour, or child with it.
How does this happen? What is wrong and can it be fixed? Are we truly affluent as a society when this still happens?

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