Crystal Methamphetamine is an addictive drug, which stimulates a person’s central nervous system, all parts of his brains, and, accordingly, his activity. Crystal Methamphetamine was first used for military purposes (as a means for soldiers’ fatigue and weariness relief and vigilance increase), and then it became wide-spread in medical practice (in medicine for weight loss, attention concentration, sexual disorders treatment etc.). Regular drug intake leads to Crystal Meth dependence and increase of its dosage demand. The constant drug usage results into malnutrition, insomnia, skin drying and ulcers, impotence, depression of an abuser (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013).
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime the total number of meth abusers in the world is 24.7 million. (A Worldwide Epidemic of Addiction, n.d.) The half of the worldwide withdrawn meth was found in the North America (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014). The accessibility of Crystal Meth in the USA depends a lot on its manufacturing in Mexico (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011). “Over 12 million people (4.7 percent of the population of the US) have tried methamphetamine at least once… and 529,000 of those are regular users” (A Worldwide Epidemic of Addiction, n.d., National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013).
In Canada 6.4% of population (starting from age of 15) have ever used crystal meth, and 0.8% were using it constantly (Buxton & Dove, 2008). Canadian Addiction Survey of 2004 states, that the addiction of young population to crystal meth is high – 8.3% for 15–19-year-olds and 11.2% for 20–24-year-olds (Department of Justice, 2007). According to (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011) North American countries remain an important market for Crystal Meth, and Canada became one of the methamphetamine sources to foreign markets.
Despite the fact that the quantity of revealed labs in Canada, which produce meth, has decreased, the amount of withdrawn drugs at least stay the same (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011). Saskatchewan, compared to other locations, had the least quantity of removed laboratories (20 times less compared to British Columbia in 2005) (Department of Justice, 2007).
The main threats, which are brought by methamphetamine usage to the countries, deal with different issues: psychological, social, economic, political etc. The usage of the drug affects the families and personalities (state and health), helps spread HIV, “contributes” to the breakdown of the families and death of family members, increases crime and unemployment. The future potential of the future generation decreases (taking into account the young age of drug-takers and the drug influence on fertility), which may lead to nation’s degradation.
The Crystal Meth problem has significant influence on countries’ economies. First of all, the drug abusers’ productivity significantly decreases after a short strengths boost, which is usually not directed to working life. Then, the number of accidents at working places may increase. The costs, which deal with Crystal Meth intake, are significant. They include: the costs for revealing laboratories and criminals, costs of the prison system maintenance (for drug dealers), costs of treatments (physical and psychological) of the drug abusers and others. The methamphetamine abuse cost for the United States was more than $23 billion in 2005 (Drug Policy Research Center, 2005).
The optimal policy response to the problem is:
- For common citizens – preventing the usage using information approach (spreading information about the consequences of meth abuse for teenagers, social videos etc);
- For drug addicts – treatment and psychological recovery;
- For producers and dealers – intensification of punishment.
- Crystal Meth is an urgent problem of the North American countries, which requires attention and reaction from the government.
- A Worldwide Epidemic of Addiction. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth/a-worldwide-epidemic-of-addiction.html
- Buxton, J. A., & Dove, N. A. (2008). The burden and management of crystal meth use. CMAJ, 178(12), 1537-1539.
- Department of Justice. Government of Canada. (2007). Methamphetamine Report for Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice.
- Drug Policy Research Center. (2005). The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in the United States.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction (13-4210).
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2011). Amphetamines and Ecstasy. 2011 Global ATS Assessment (E.11.XI.13)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014). World Drug Report 2014 (E.14.XI.7).
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