By: Mosi Dorbayani, PhD

*Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. Methamphetamine is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater. Both drugs have some medical uses, primarily in the treatment of obesity, but their therapeutic use is limited.

Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “meth,” “speed,” and “chalk.” Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice,” “crystal,” and “glass.”

Addiction: Methamphetamine is taken orally or intranasal (snorting the powder), by intravenous injection, and by smoking. Immediately after smoking or intravenous injection, the methamphetamine user experiences an intense sensation, called a “rush” or “flash,” that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Oral or intranasal use produces euphoria – a high, but not a rush. Users may become addicted quickly, and use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses.

Short-term effects: The central nervous system (CNS) actions that result from taking even small amounts of methamphetamine include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, and euphoria. Other CNS effects include irritability, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, and aggressiveness. Hyperthermia and convulsions can result in death.

Long-term effects: Methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects of methamphetamine include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death.

How dangerous is it to Teens and Society? While meth use in the U.S. and parts of Europe has been declining, widespread media coverage about the drug often raises many questions and causes parents to worry about whether their children are exposed to or using this dangerous substance. Meth is a stimulant drug used for the euphoria it produces and for weight loss and increased libido. The down side of the high is addiction and a variety of toxic short- and long-term effects. One of the most serious and unpleasant side effects is “meth mouth,” where the users’ teeth rot from the inside out.

Parents need to talk to their kids about meth and the reality of what it does to the body. Parents also need to know when their teen might be using meth. Some of the most common signs and symptoms are extremely dilated pupils, dry or bleeding nose and lips, chronic nasal or sinus problems and bad breath. Because meth is a stimulant, users also experience hyperactivity and irritability. This includes a lack of interest in sleep and food, leading to drastic weight loss or anorexia. It may also cause users to be aggressive, nervous, and engage in disconnected chatter.

Some short-term effects are irritability, anxiety, insomnia, Parkinson-like tremors, convulsions and paranoia. Longer-term effects can include increased heart rate and blood pressure, damage to blood vessels in the brain, stroke and even death. Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years even after the user has stopped taking the drug.

Adult methamphetamine addiction: They often become so obsessed with the drug that they neglect their children. 20% of the meth labs raided in 2002 had children present. In addition to general neglect, children living in meth labs face a variety of dangers including the usual meth lab hazards — fires, explosions and exposure to extremely toxic chemicals. Chronic exposure to meth lab chemicals can damage the brain, liver, kidneys and spleen and can also cause cancer.

Now what made me to share the above insight is the release of an outstanding, yet a dark movie, called ‘Meth Head’ written and directed by the very talented, Jane Clark.

Kyle Peoples (Lukas Haas) never wanted to be the man he has become in his 30’s – stuck in a dead end job, engaged to a lover who is more successful than he, and saddled with a family that doesn’t get him at all. When an innocent night of partying leads to a new family of friends and fun, Kyle sees an opportunity to escape from his reality.

But Kyle’s new friendship with Maia (Necar Zadegan, WAALM award winning actress) and Dusty (Blake Berris), and the trio’s love of crystal meth eventually cost Kyle everything – his job, his lover, his family and his home.

Kyle and Dusty rent a room from Maia in the house owned by her grandma Nora (Edith Fields). As any true user does, Kyle embraces denial, diving headlong into his addiction.

Life seems pretty awesome. Kyle, Dusty and Maia redecorate Kyle’s apartment. The walls change colour as often as Maia changes outfits. They share thoughts on life and God. They spend hours in thrift stores, vow to get off the meth then get high.

But Kyle’s escape becomes his trap, the party is an illusion and the crystal is slowly killing him, physically and psychologically. When he finally bottoms out, no longer the kid his father once spoke of with pride, Kyle must choose: life or meth

In this movie Lukas Haas played his role pretty natural and convincing and Necar Zadegan, delivered yet another stunning act.

Meth Head also enjoys other remarkable casts such as Wilson Cruz, Tom Sizemore, Blake Berris, , Scott Patterson, John W. McLaughlin, Lindsay Pulsipher, Candis Cayne, Victoria Profeta, James Snyder, Edith Fields, Barbara Niven, and Theo Rossi.

This independent film is being considered for several festival premieres in the next few months, followed by a theatrical release.

What this movie offers, is beyond entertainment!

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