Undercover Operation ‘Ice Cubed’
On a Wednesday in mid-April 2019, the police arrested a grandmother and her three grandsons for the crime of running a profitable family business – selling illicit crystal meth (sometimes referred to as “ice”1). Undercover operation ‘Ice Cubed’ involved seven months of undercover officers purchasing a collective four pounds of high-grade methamphetamine with a street value of $90,000. The findings from this operation in Plant City, Florida were consistent with some concerning national trends surrounding meth. DEA Special Agent in Charge, Mike Ferguson, reported that they have seen meth increase to over 90% purity and the price has dropped dramatically.2
The demand for meth is rising. On top of that, we’re not just dealing with the local, homemade quality that you’d expect from a family business. Most meth in the U.S. is produced by transnational criminal organizations in Mexico and trafficked across the border.3 This meth is widely used in the U.S. because it is highly pure, potent, and it’s priced to sell.4
The intense high associated with meth makes solving the situation even harder because many users will refuse to seek help from a meth treatment program by themselves.5 This not only highlights the importance of stopping meth traffickers from entering the country, but it also puts more pressure on the family members of meth users to get help for them.
Meth Is Reaching a High Level of Abuse
Throughout the U.S., there were 1.6 million Americans that reported using meth in 2017, but the actual number of meth users may be much higher. Although this seems like a small percentage of the population, the number of overdose deaths involving drugs like meth increased by 7.5 times between 2007 and 2017.6 There is an alarming national trend of increasing use of illicit meth. In fact, more than 70% of local law enforcement agencies from the Pacific and West Central regions of the country report that meth is the greatest threat in their area.7 Throughout Washington State in 2017, meth was involved in 40.8% of drug-related deaths and over half of those deaths were purely attributed to meth.8
Meth is a powerful stimulant that delivers a quick rush of euphoria soon after it’s consumed.9 It is highly potent and addictive, which makes meth one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. Many users reported that they got addicted to meth from the first time they used it.10 Meth is known as a “party drug.” It creates a false sense of well-being and energy, which causes meth-users to push their bodies faster and further than they are meant to.
Long-term, meth use can increase heart rate and blood pressure, cause strokes, and cause irregular heartbeat that can lead to cardiovascular collapse or death. Meth also causes liver, kidney, lung, and brain damage.11 Each of these issues warrants the need for meth users to utilize a medical meth treatment program. However, the strong addictive nature of meth makes it difficult for users to think clearly or seek a meth treatment program for themselves.
Meth Treatment Programs are Critical for Recovery
Meth has a toxic effect on the human body, and it begins causing damage after just one use. That’s why it’s critical to seek a medically supervised meth treatment program for detox and recovery.12 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are behavioral therapies.13 Aversion therapy is an effective behavioral therapy that is often used to treat substance abuse. It works by pairing the unwanted behavior or substance with an unpleasant stimulus to retrain the brain.14 Training your brain to associate the substance with the unpleasant stimulus helps to eliminate the craving that drives addiction.
People who are addicted to meth will exhibit behavioral and physical symptoms that should serve as a “help needed” signal for family members or loved ones. Some of the common meth use symptoms include:15
- Twitching, facial tics, jerky movements
- Dilated pupils
- Noticeable and sudden weight loss
- Skin Sores
- Rapid eye movement
- Reduced appetite
- Burns, particularly on the lips or fingers
- Erratic sleeping patterns
- Rotting teeth
- Outbursts or mood swings
- Extreme weight loss
If you notice these symptoms in a loved one, it may be appropriate to talk to them and determine if they need help. Schick Shadel Hospital provides a 10-day meth treatment program that helps patients get their life back. People have come from around the country to get treatment from Schick Shadel Hospital because we have mastered the aversion therapy method to eliminate addictive cravings. Meth users need effective meth treatment programs to recover, and Schick Shadel Hospital can change your life in just 10 days!
1 Ice – Alcohol and Drug Foundation. (2019). Adf.org.au. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ice/
2 HCSO: Meth operation run by grandmother, grandsons busted in Plant City. (2019). FOX13news. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/hcso-meth-operation-run-by-grandmother-grandsons-busted-in-plant-city
3 (2019). Dea.gov. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/DIR-032-18%202018%20NDTA%20%5Bfinal%5D%20low%20resolution11-20.pdf
4 How is methamphetamine manufactured?. (2019). Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/methamphetamine-abuse-addiction/how-methamphetamine-manufactured
5 Best Treatment Program Options for Meth Rehab. (2019). American Addiction Centers. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/meth-treatment/options
6 What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?. (2019). Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-misuse-in-united-states
7 (2019). Ndews.umd.edu. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/ndews-scs-methamphetamine-report-september-2018-final.pdf
8 Washington state meth trends. (2019). Adai.washington.edu. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://adai.washington.edu/WAdata/methamphetamine.htm
9 Crystal Meth: What You Should Know. (2019). WebMD. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/crystal-meth-what-you-should_know#1
10 (2019). Drugfreeworld.org. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth.html
11 Short- & Long-Term Side Effects of Crystal Methamphetamine on the Body- Drug-Free World . (2019). Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Retrieved 16 July 2019, from https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth/the-deadly-effects-of-meth.html
12 Meth Treatment. (2019). Drug Rehab. Retrieved 17 July 2019, from https://www.drugrehab.com/addiction/drugs/crystal-meth/treatment/
13 What treatments are effective for people who misuse methamphetamine?. (2019). Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved 17 July 2019, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/methamphetamine/what-treatments-are-effective-people-who-misuse-methamphetamine
14 Behavioral Therapy: Definition, Types, and effectiveness. (2019). Healthline. Retrieved 17 July 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/behavioral-therapy#types
15 Meth Symptoms and Warning Signs – Addiction Center. (2019). AddictionCenter. Retrieved 17 July 2019, from https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/meth/symptoms-signs/