Before And After: The Health Impacts of Meth
Don’t even try it once. That’s what health officials in Sioux Falls are begging of the public. They say the drug is highly addictive in nature and effects pretty much every aspect of the body.
Carroll Institute Licensed Addiction Counselor Sheri Nelson said, “They have to take a higher dose in order to get that same high or effect that they got at the beginning.”
It takes only months if not weeks to build a tolerance to meth.
Falls Community Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Tinguely said, “People will feel an incredible high or this adrenaline rush after using methamphetamine. After that wears off there’s an incredible crash in those hormone levels so they feel very depressed.”
Within a short period of time, say three months, the effects can be devastating. The Chief Medical Officer at Falls Community Health says meth affects everything from the heart and skin to lungs and the brain.
Tinguely said, “If a person uses methamphetamine for long periods of time we start to see brain damage similar to what you would see with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.”
The Falls Community Health Dental Director Dr. Stephanie Schmitz says meth mouth is also a real danger. Just this past week they saw two patients, both under the age of 25, who needed full mouth teeth extractions due to meth use.
Schmitz said, “The issue is that methamphetamine, one of the side effects is dry mouth and an affinity for sugary food and beverage while they are high.”
Tinguely says unlike alcohol and Opioid abusers, there’s nothing she can prescribe to meth users. That’s part of what makes treating the problem so difficult.
Tinguely said, “With meth, we have to reach out to outside resources.”
Patients are often referred to the Carroll Institute or Keystone Treatment Center in Sioux Falls for help. However, Tinguely says often times the patient doesn’t have insurance or the financial resources to get that kind of assistance.