The use of methamphetamines, or meth, has steadily increased over the last four years in Santa Clarita, said Sgt. Bob Wachsmuth, who works with the Juvenile Intervention Team, or J-Team, at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Meth is a man-made drug that stimulates the central nervous system and is the most dangerous drug that has ever been made, said Cary Quashen of Action Family Counseling.
“The rise in use here is really on par with with other areas in the United States,” Wachsmuth said. “Some places may have a higher rate of use, while others could be lower.”
The increase in use has a lot to do with more of the drug coming from Mexico, Wachsmuth said. It’s cheaper than other drugs and the effects last longer.
Meth can injected or inhaled, Wachsmuth said, these days, users are mixing meth and heroin, or other drugs to create a different type of high.
“It is a shortcut to the pleasure center of the brain,” Quashen said. “People go on runs where all they do is the drug, they don’t sleep or eat and the brain starts playing tricks on the user, people get really paranoid.”
The average user begins using at age 17, and personality traits in a methamphetamine user include the inability to work or care for a family, they are agitated, aggressive, confused, and they don’t maintain a normal sleep cycle, Wachsmuth said.
“Coming down from methamphetamines can cause extreme depression,” Quashen said, “it is the most emotionally addictive drug out there.”
Meth is not really a step up from another drug, Wachsmuth said, meth is a stimulant, which makes it very different than other drugs.
“The use of meth is more of an alternate step that has to do with the users personality,” Wachsmuth said. “Heroin, painkillers many other drugs are depressants, so the high is different.”
It’s an incredibly tough habit to kick, Wachsmuth said, it is a life long process to get and stay sober.
“Most people become addicted after trying the drug only once, it is incredibly hard to kick,” Quashen said, “but people do it every single day.”