Drug Addiction Assignment: Methamphetamine
The powerful and dangerous drug, methamphetamine (meth), has recently attracted more and more users around the world. It is an amphetamine drug that is very addictive. Meth users are gaining easier access to the drug, since it can be made from common household things, like Drano and battery acid. Over 400,000 Americans are currently addicted to the drug. Meth causes a huge increase in dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain. In addition, meth also blocks enzymes that work to break down dopamine in the brain, which causes the high to last much longer than a high from a stimulant like cocaine. Several methods are used to take this drug, but smoking it has recently become more popular. Smoking meth causes the body to absorb the drug quicker and leads to faster addiction. Meth destroys dopamine receptors, and after using it repeatedly, the brain’s supply of dopamine starts to permanently decrease. Meth addicts develop a lot of physical and mental damage, and there is not currently a treatment to help.
Once methamphetamine is ingested, the drug goes to the circulatory system, then instantly to the central nervous system. The drug is an amphetamine, so it increases the release of dopamine from the presynaptic terminal. Instead of dopamine being reabsorbed by the terminal, meth causes it to release more dopamine. Meth also blocks the reuptake of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, another way of increasing the amount of dopamine in the synaptic cleft. Also, meth blocks COMT, the enzyme that normally breaks down dopamine. Because of this, meth highs last for hours longer than other stimulants and amphetamines.
After repeated use of meth, the brain’s dopamine receptors decrease as the drug destroys them. This damage can be permanent and causes the brain to reorganize and change. Because of the decrease in dopamine receptors, meth users start needing more and more of the drug, in order to feel what they...
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