PURE METHAMPHETAMINE,KNOWN HERE AS 'P', STILL BURNING A HOLE IN HEALTH BUDGET
Still Burning a Million Dollar Hole in Health Budget - health and crime problems.
Pure methamphetamine ( P ) lab explosions are causing acute burns to be treated at emergency departments in New Zealand public hospitals and ensuing surgery is delaying other surgery and delaying already long waiting lists. Emergency treatment is free in New Zealand as is most other acute treatment.
These burns can actually look like explosive burns. Victims of " P" lab explosions often have flash burns to faces, hands and chests. Making pure methamphetamine involves strong acids, flammable chemicals and extreme temperatures, at about 130 degrees Centigrade.
A 70% burn takes five months of treatment at around $700,000 NZ. Some actually come to hospitals for treatment days after with complications,such as infections etc; costs could be $275,000 each.
What is pure meth. or "P"? It is a more potent form of amphetamine. It can be smoked, eaten, snorted or injected. " Ps " effect on the body is similar to that of the natural chemical adrenaline, but with deadly side effects. Once inside the body it quickly affects the central nervous system, speeding up the heart and increasing blood pressure uncontrollably. While the high from one hit of crack lasts about 10-15 minutes, a " P " high can last for hours. Smoking the Crystal form " Ice", can produce a high for up to 24 hours.Users on the run or a "marathon" taking the drug hits every few hours, go for days on end without eating or sleeping. It is highly addictive and prolonged use results in a permanent alteration of the brains chemistry.
When the effects of the drug wear off, users experience a severe "crash". Some may sleep for long periods, but most users experience what is called " tweaking " or methamphetamine psychosis, a condition similar to schizophrenia - a mental disease. They become paranoid, delusional and stike out at those around them and themselves.They may also have fevers up 180 degrees, which could cause permanent brain damage. With continued crashes the brain damage gets worse and worse.In effect their brains are getting cooked. Police describe them as walking timebombs!
Metamphetamine is produced in makeshift underground laboratories.The people making the drug usually have no scientific background and manufacture it dangerously. The actual strength of "P" on the streets is therefore unknown.
But the costs to our society are definately becoming known through health costs and crime. Some of our worst crime and murders in recent years have been perpetrated by "P" users!
Still relevant as the day this post was originally written elsewhere in June 2006.