Methamphetamine addiction is a serious problem that has developed across much of the country, including states like Alaska. Methamphetamine, or meth for short, is an extremely addictive stimulant drug. Stimulants are drugs that increase energy and stimulate the activity of the brain. Because meth is one of the strongest stimulants, this results in an intense euphoria for the user and energy that can last for several hours or even days. The drug can cause the person not to eat or sleep while they’re under the influence and promotes binge use, where the person may be on it for several days in a row before “crashing” and sleeping for several days. This wreaks havoc on the mind and body, so meth has become notorious for ravaging the user and leaving behind a shell of a person if they survive. Many people need help from Alaska methamphetamine treatment and detox services before this happens and their life is lost.
Addiction can happen to almost anyone, and with meth, it is no different. Many people become addicted to the drug by first taking other stimulant drugs in the form of prescription medication. For example, many young children are placed on psychiatric drugs that are actually stimulants. Most of these drugs are stimulants that belong to the amphetamine family. Even methamphetamine is available as a prescription psychiatric medication. So, when schools and counselors push for young children to take these drugs, they are often starting a lifelong addiction to powerful stimulants. Later in life, the person views stimulant drugs as a cure or something they need to function normally. Many people who become addicted to meth were on these amphetamine-based prescription drugs previously and developed a dependence on them. Another way that meth addiction can easily begin is through self-medication. Many people in Alabama abuse over-the-counter and prescription diet pills. These drugs are also very similar to meth in their chemical structure and how they affect the user. If the person is struggling with their self-image, they may find that these drugs give the illusion of helping them. They may have more energy and less appetite and feel euphoric and confident when they take it. This can quickly lead to a problem as they take more and more diet pills and develop a dependence on stimulants. If they discover that meth is stronger and provides even more euphoria, they may quickly begin abusing it and become addicted.
Meth is easier to find now than it ever has been. In the late 1990s, America saw a massive methamphetamine epidemic. The drug seemed to be everywhere then, but the issue was quickly overshadowed by the growing opioid epidemic of the early 2000s. By this time, many states were already addressing the meth issue, which proved to be easier than fighting against the overprescribing of prescription drugs like Oxycontin. They simply targeted the key ingredients used to manufacture meth in America and quickly restricted them. One of these was pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter decongestant that meth is ultimately derived from. While this made it harder to get cold medicine, this inconvenience was worth the effect, which practically eliminated the manufacturing of the drug.
But what no one counted on was that another country would supply our demand. Mexican drug cartels learned of this lack of meth across the border and slowly began taking overproduction. With much more lenient regulations or a lack thereof, they’ve been able to supply a massive amount of high-grade methamphetamine into the US and have caused a resurgence of the epidemic. We’re now seeing overdose rates for meth at an all-time high, with the drug being cheaper and more accessible than ever before. But thankfully, we’ve also become more experienced in treating stimulant addiction, and rehab centers exist all over the state that can help people recover for good.
Different Types of Treatment for Addiction to Methamphetamine in Alaska
When it comes to finding the right rehab, there are many different types of treatment for stimulant addiction in Alaska. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the person may also need to attend a detox before treatment is begun. This is unusual since meth doesn’t usually produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but the process can be very difficult, particularly if the drug has been used for a long time. For the most part, withdrawal symptoms can include extreme lethargy, irritability, depression, and wanting to do nothing besides sleep and eat. If extreme, these symptoms can interfere with treatment, and detox should be utilized first. When contacting a treatment center, they will provide screening that establishes this and guides the decision. Rehabilitation for stimulant addiction can come in a few forms.
Perhaps the most popular is traditional drug and alcohol treatment. Traditional programs draw upon the twelve steps developed by Alcoholics Anonymous to help patients become drug-free. They are usually inpatient, meaning the person lives and stays at the facility the entire time they are in treatment. Most traditional programs take 28 days to complete and offer outpatient services so the patient can get continued support even after they have returned home.
Another excellent form of treatment for stimulant addiction is holistic substance abuse rehabilitation. Holistic programs do not use narcotics or any unnecessary medications during the treatment process. This helps patients develop new coping skills instead of turning to substances like meth. Many holistic programs also offer intensive therapy to help patients address the core issue that they use drugs to mask. This can have lasting benefits that give the person an excellent chance at long-term success but may make holistic models take a bit longer than other forms of treatment.
Alaska Methamphetamine Possession Penalties
Alaska classifies all illegal drug possession crimes into five degrees, with misconduct in the first degree being the most serious.
Possession of any amount of methamphetamine in Alaska is considered misconduct in the 4th degree and is a Class C felony. If found guilty, class C felony possession charges carry a sentence of imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
Alaska Methamphetamine Statistics
Meth is a major problem in Alaska. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that between 2005 and 2015, fatal overdoses involving stimulants increased almost 300 percent, the majority of which was attributable to meth.
Domestic meth purchases analyzed from January 2011 through September 2016 in Alaska indicate the price per pure gram of methamphetamine decreased 41 percent from $98 to $58. This is a reflection of the influence of the cartel’s impact on distributing the drug throughout America.
The rate of meth-related overdoses quadrupled in Alaska in less than a decade. According to a report by the state’s Division of Public Health, between 2008 and 2016, the fatality rate went from 1.4 to 5.8 per every 100,000 residents. Of the 193 lethal overdoses caused by meth in that period, 54 percent also involved an opioid like heroin.
The year 2015 saw a 255 percent increase in poisoning deaths from psychostimulants. The overwhelming majority of those incidents involved meth.
Below, you will find a list of detox centers for methamphetamine addiction in Alaska. The list may be incomplete, so if you have a hard time finding the proper service, call one of our treatment specialists at 1-800-304-2219.