Not Even Once
by Shelby James & Jesse Wasko
It’s no secret that our classmate, Tyler Barnes died of a methamphetamine overdose. It’s also no secret that it is highly addictive, and therefore one of the most sought after illegal substances of our time. Our little town and even our school have been plagued by this drug as if it were a super- virus escaped from the bowels of the CDC–where they keep the super bugs.
But it’s not a virus. It’s a choice. Remember?
The Meth Project has a slogan (www.methproject.org) found on their website. “METH—NOT EVEN ONCE. Why not even once? Why not just one hit? Because, once, as we learned from our interview with a W.H.S. meth addict, can wreck your life.
You might think this story has a preachy tone, and you might be saying to yourself or to your friends, “I already know all of this!” But it’s when we think we know all there is to know about a subject that we are at risk of making the worst choices. In other words, ignorance is not bliss. It’s dangerous.
So stop worrying for a minute what your friends might think if you don’t know about it. Not knowing is okay as long as you admit it and get the facts. Take sex for example. Not knowing how babies are made is how our classmates end up pregnant.
So here’s what you need to know about Meth:
How it works: When you snort, smoke, or inject meth it is almost immediately absorbed into the blood stream where it travels to the pleasure center of the brain. Huge quantities of dopamine (the brains pleasure chemical) flood the synapses (the tiny spaces between neurotransmitters) causing a euphoric feeling.
Our source, who will remain anonymous, explained it this way:
“At first it’s like this burning in your nose, like your brain is on fire. And then you feel like this euphoria. I don’t know what else to call it. Brain orgasm? Anyway, there are like these layers to it, you know. Like after the rush I just felt so damn good, like all over …like, I had powers. X-Men powers.”
The problem comes when the receptors in the neurotransmitters are unable to recycle all of that meth. It stays in the system and in the blood stream producing a lasting high, increased heart rate, increased brain function, and a feeling of invincibility described by our source.
But as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down.
“I partied all freaking night! And like the entire next day I did like all my homework and even worked ahead in some of my classes. Weird, I know. And then that night, I effing cleaned the whole house!”
But it ended a day later about which our source said, “The crashing sucks. I mean it really sucks. I slept for like a whole day.”
“But then you did it again?” we asked.
“I had to. Plus, it was easy to come by.”
Our source talked about “having” to get high, as if it was something uncontrollable. The way it was described was that a feeling so good had to be experienced again, and again.
But that’s the problem with meth. You never quite get the same feeling again. Sure, you get high, but what’s happening in your brain is the law of diminishing returns.
Continued over-stimulation from Meth causes the neurotransmitter receptors to withdrawal, meaning you can never can get as high as that first time. So what do you do? Like a zombie to brains, you take more.
Eventually, your brain’s reward system is damaged, leaving you with an inability to feel pleasure. Users are can become severely depresses and withdrawn. After prolonged abuse can cause hallucinations, like feeling bugs crawling under your skin, which causes you to scratch at your self until open sores develop. It’s not a pretty site.
Our source asked us, “Have you ever tried it?”
Of course, we said no.
“Well don’t. You won’t be able to stop.”
Tyler tried it and it took his heart stopping before he could quit.
You should know are programs available. If you’re using, and you think there is no way out, there is. If you don’t want out now, you will. Do it for you. DON’T drop out of life.
Go to Drug-Rehabs.org/williamsburg for confidential help.