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Everything You've Heard About Crack And Meth Is Wrong

  1. Basoodler

    Growing familiarity with marijuana has been accompanied by growing support for legalization because people discovered through personal experience that the government was lying to them about the drug’s hazards. But it is easier to demonize less popular drugs such as crack cocaine and methamphetamine, which in the public mind are still linked, as marijuana once was, with addiction, madness, and violence. Any attempt to question the use of force in dealing with these drugs therefore must begin by separating reality from horror stories.

    That is where Carl Hart comes in. Hart, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Columbia who grew up in one of Miami’s rougher neighborhoods, has done bold, path-breaking research that challenges widely accepted beliefs about crack and meth. In his inspiring and fascinating new memoir High Price,he describes both how he overcame his early disadvantages to secure a tenured position at an Ivy League university and how he came to question everything he thought he knew about drugs as he learned to think critically about the issue.

    Before he became a scientist, Hart believed that people who use crack generally get hooked on it and thereby lose control of their behavior. But when he looked at the data on patterns of drug use as an academic, he could plainly see that only a small minority of people who try crack become heavy users. “Even at the peak [of] widespread use,” he writes, “only 10–20 percent of crack cocaine users became addicted.” According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health,just 3 percent of Americans who have tried this reputedly irresistible and inescapable drug have smoked it in the last month.

    Contrary to what anti-drug ads claim, Hart observes, addiction “is not an equal-opportunity disorder.” He notes that even rats, whose voracious consumption of cocaine in certain contrived conditions supposedly shows how powerfully addictive that drug is, tend to use it in moderation when they have other options, such as food, sex, or an interesting environment to explore.

    Crack “gained the popularity that it did in the hood…because there weren’t that many other affordable sources of pleasure and purpose,” Hart writes. “And that was why, despite years of media-hyped predictions that crack’s expansion across classes was imminent, it never ‘ravaged’ the suburbs.”

    Furthermore, Hart’s own research with heavy crack smokers found that, in contrast with the stereotypical addict who cannot help but immediately consume whatever crack is available, they frequently rejected the drug in favor of small cash payments or vouchers. He got similar results with meth snorters, even though he deliberately recruited frequent consumers who had no interest in stopping. These findings underline a crucial truth that Hart emphasizes: “The effects of drugs on human behavior and physiology are determined by a complex interaction between the individual drug user and her or his environment.”

    Hart debunks various other misconceptions about crack and meth. He notes that the vast majority of violence attributed to crack grew out of black-market disputes, as opposed to the drug’s pharmacological effects. His studies found that cocaine and methamphetamine do increase heart rate and blood pressure, but the effect of typical doses is not dangerous in otherwise healthy people. He argues that research linking meth to brain damage confuses correlation with causation and fails to show that meth users’ cognitive capabilities are outside the normal range. And in case you were wondering, “There is no empirical evidence to support the claim that methamphetamine causes one to become physically unattractive.”

    Hart is well aware of the hostility he is apt to provoke by challenging the myths underlying the war on drugs. He describes a 2005 meeting with journalists, arranged by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, where he tried to put the dangers of methamphetamine in perspective, noting that the drug is a government-approved treatment for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He cited his own research finding that methamphetamine has “the same effects” as a more familiar ADHD drug, Adderall, which has a “nearly identical” chemical structure. He added that pilots and soldiers commonly use amphetamines to stay alert.

    Yet for some reason amphetamine use in these contexts is not considered alarming, physically dangerous, dentally destructive, or apt to produce outbursts of irrational, murderous violence. Hart’s calm and accurate presentation contrasted sharply with the tales of chemical slavery, degradation, and monstrous mayhem told by the other “experts” invited to the meeting: a cop, a prosecutor, and a self-identified meth addict. “My fellow panelists were horrified,” he says.

    11-1-13-- Forbes


  1. Booty love
    I think its not a drug, that gives it a certain stereotype, but the people associate with the drug. I'm a husband and father now but i was once a stereotypical crack user for 7 years and from that experience i can tell you the most dangerous part of crack use is the people involved, not the drug itself.
  2. dankplantgrower
    Many people Ive seen who had meth as a DoC suffered from some type of "dope damage" to their minds, myself included. I have a persistent paranoia, I believe people are after me, although much of my mind doesnt believe it. Are people really going to be following you this long over a drug debt without killing you? The gas by now they wouldve burned over these couple years was astronomical by now compared to my debt. People driving by my street slowly and looking at me has even instigated violent reactions by me. Ive followed people through the city and confronted them over their suspicious behavior, when really he was just texting and driving (so he said). I nearly got out and assaulted another man I followed who jumped on his phone and started calling the cops. Basically any hispanic male who is bald or possibly looks gang related, driving by at anything less than normal speed, is enough to make me feel like a caged animal and subconsciously reach for my pocket knife\weapon in car.

    This was a direct result of meth use, I wasnt even smoking weed or drinking at that time in my life. I most certainly never had such irational paranoia before my time with meth as DoC. But even half knowing it probably isnt real, the other half of my brain says "what if it is though?" Its frustrating as all hell and I really wish I had never done meth at all to begin with : ( Ive been told meth can bring up dormant mental health issues, but I did so many drugs until meth, even as an adolescent, and never once had these delusions until my time with meth. The paranoia is tenfold when youre on one too.

    Ive seen way too many tweakers (easily disproportionate) with mental health issues to believe this professors assertions. On the contrary the benzoheads, opiate users, alcoholics, simply do not exhibit such an identifiable propensity towards obvious mental issues.

    Also using meth every once in a great while isnt going to drastically alter your attractiveness but apparently this guys hasnt seen a girl whose been up awhile without eating (quite common on meth) and starting to get gaunt. Tweakers broads are usually pretty beat up around here unless theyre either new to the craft, they use just very occasionaly, or they are those rare exceptions to the rule (no offense to meth users here). As for meth not being dentally destructive, he hasnt ground his teeth much or clenched his jaw so hard it hurts when you wakeup from your meth coma apparently. Maybe not for a very occasional user but rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse repear for regular users and I think the potential for damage is quite clear. Also many people neglect their hygiene when theyre on one, though certainly not all.

    Lastly, and the most stupid of all this professors asertions, is that meth is virtually identical to pharmaceutical amphetamines like Adderal. Adderal is mass produced by the pharm companies with rigid quality control and standards, and certainly no risk of harmful adulterants. Street meth on the other hand is virtually always cut to shit with god knows what (I wonder meths average purity here) as its passed from hand to hand by some street creatures whose chemistry training is less than stellar, and in many cases primitive. Over the years Ive had meth melt pink, green, light purple, and more in the pipe, with dealers often saying "man this new shit is the bomb dawg, its green!" After talking to my first cook I learned pure dope was completely white in the pipe, that color impurities result from either added cuts or errors in the cooking process. The dealers are glorifying their colored products which really just means they are cooked improperly or cut with something. Titos green dope means his cook sucks or hes stomping all over his gear like all the other meth on the streets.

    I wonder if adderall is made with ammonia and battery acid and the other noxious chemicals street dope is synthed with? Im gonna look up the average purity too.
  3. Großschmackhaft
    Good point. And even putting aside the realities of clandestine manufacture, claiming that amphetamine and methamphetamine have the same effect is beyond ignorant. Meth is much more euphoric and potent than amphetamine, plus it can be smoked, making it much more addictive. Amphetamine loses all euphoria if taken even weekly.

    Those two drugs can absolutely not be compared in terms of addictiveness.
  4. Booty love
    You cannot compare any drugs in terms of addictiveness. Drugs alone are not addictive, they actually have no power at all. Outside factors make a drug addictive, not the drug itself. I used to smoked crack with a lady who was hooked on darvocet and when she was out, she would smoke crack, i even saw her once trade some real good dope for several darvocets.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    Booty Love-

    Although a "drug" may not be addictive in and of itself, the havoc many cause to the mind, body and life can be devastating and, therefore, I cannot agree with your statement-- and actually find it a dangerous one to put on a drug forum.

    There are many variables in drug dependency, no argument there, but saying "...drugs have no power at all" flies in the face of all reason.

    What is Drug Addiction
    "Drug addiction is a dependence on an illegal drug or a medication. When you're addicted, you may not be able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. You may want to quit, but most people find they can't do it on their own.

    For many people, what starts as casual use leads to drug addiction. Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment and the law." - The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-addiction/DS00183)

    What makes drugs addictive?
    "Doctors call a drug addictive if it makes you dependent on the drug. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms appear unless you take the drug. Addictive drugs also make you crave them - you have an overwhelming urge to continue taking the drug, even after withdrawal symptoms have disappeared." - Science Museum.org.UK (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/who...saffectyourbrain/whatmakesdrugsaddictive.aspx)

    I also offer two of most likely hundreds of available research papers explaining just how much "power" drugs do have over people's lives:

    Methamphetamine Abuse causes cognitive decline in humans: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082810.htm

    Brain Chemistry Predisposition to Addiction: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082810.htm

    I think it's beyond important that we be very cautious with the wording we choose to use on the subjects of the "power" of drug or of addiction, since no one argues that addiction to drugs causes immeasurable damage to the lives of millions yearly.

  6. Booty love
    The only power of addiction a drug has, is in the mind of the user. Drugs do not have the ability to take over the mind, it is the user who controls that, not the drug. A good example was something Potter posted, it was a study that some college did, that found crack to be equally as addictive as cocaine. I challenged that and failed. I agree that all drugs aren't created equal but the truth is, when it come to a drugs ability to become addictive, it has nothing to do with the drug itself. Its about availability, brain chemistry and priorities. Brain chemistry being last.
    You can try a drug and like it all you want but if you can find it, then addiction to that drug is moot.
  7. Basoodler
    Its interesting that we have such a debate on this article. Considering the strong anti prohibition message it contains

    Anyway I agree and disagree with you booty love.

    On one hand you are right that a pile of cocaine sitting untouched on a table has no chance of causing addiction. You are also correct in my opinion that in some cases the substance itself doesn't matter as much as the users preference of what to use. There are people addicted to eating sticks of deoderant or just about anything you can think of

    19-Year-Old Nicole Addicted To Eating Deodorant | TIME.com

    I do disagree that the (any recreational) drug itself does not posses qualities that can lead to addiction. Because they wouldn't be recreational if they didn't. Addictive qualaties can't be defined in back or white.. because everyone is different. I think its safe to say that when a drug is consumed it is responsible for the unique reaction that it causes.. not in an intelligent. Way.. drugs don't plot against people.. the fact is that consuming a cheerio does not have the same qualities as consuming a drug
  8. mystix36
    Even if the professor's statement about meth and adderall having almost the same chemical composition are incorrect, I still think his studies are very valuable in the discussion of drugs and drug policy. We need more people willing to look at facts (not propaganda) when it comes to drug use or addiction. And we need more people to publicly speak about their findings.

    Obviously... propaganda works if there's not enough real information to contradict it. Or it works if someone has no experience with a group of people or a situation. Like last night... I was watching a bunch of anti drug ads on youtube. Most of them are so inaccurate and full of bullshit... it's amusing in a way. If you try a hard drug even once.... you're instantly hooked.... then you either turn into a violent psychopath to finance your habit.... or end up prostituting yourself. According to most of these ads.... a drug addict never has a job... or pays for drugs with their own money. If you stay away from hard drugs... and smoke some weed.... then you'll end up a lazy stupid loser.

    I think these ads actually contribute to making drug addiction even worse. They make it so people don't take as many precautions with their use... because they see most of what they've been told is bullshit... so they discount the real potential dangers of a drug. Also because it portrays drug addicts in such a horrific way... it makes someone reluctant to admit their addiction and seek help.
  9. Diverboone
    Many if not most amphetamine synthesis involve chemicals and mixtures much more "noxious". NH3 and HCl are used in the production of many consumer products.

    By no means are my replies meant as a personal attack or flaming. Your post is inline with the general perception concerning methamphetamine. Mr Hart is trying to bring forth the fact that the public's general preception is controlled by the Government and media, and does not rely upon truth. Mr Hart is one of the few, that is not afraid to put forth the truth and facts, not distorted by some ulterior motive.
  10. Diverboone
    When individuals are not educated enough to make decisions for themselves, they rely on the opinion of those who have the most to gain by representing their own interests instead.

    A misrepresentation of a drug's actions and effects is a non-factual foundation from which only further distortions and misconceptions will result.

  11. Waiting For The Fall
    Diverboone, you have made some very good and valid points. Meth is blamed for a lot more mischief than it deserves.

    Caustic chemicals are used in the manufacture of many consumer drugs, but the process is never mentioned for fear of dropping sales. Also, no one seems to explain that these caustic chemicals, once they have been used to "shape" the formulation of a drug, are extracted out of the mix.

    I laugh whenever I see claims that the meth we use is full of battery acid, sterno, Drano, lye, acetone and other poisonous materials that would kill us on the spot when taken if that were the case. People are dumb and the general population just eats this up as truth.

    I have seen a couple of Mr. Hart's speeches. He is a brave man, and I don't care how book smart the people are in his audiences, I don't think they believe a word he says. It's like telling a congregation of Southern Baptists that you have personally met the Devil and he really and truly is a nice guy.
  12. ReynoldWrappin
    Thats interesting what dankplant menttioned about meth being a catalyst to awaken a dormant mental disorder.

    I mean personally i have all sorts of mental issues that before meth, never had.
    Meth is so fascinating, as its capale of so much mental damage. I mean type of hallucinations alone, are something sent from hell. I hope more research can be uncovered about the true physcological damage meth can really do
  13. Diverboone
    Many things can trigger or act as a catalyst to the manifestation of mental illnesses. Sleep deprivation can cause extreme paranoia, this paranoia is often cited as a side affect caused by amphetamine use, when in fact it's a result of sleep deprivation. Use of therapeutic levels of amphetamine does not cause an individual to go without sleep for multiple days. If you consume too much alcohol, you'll go to sleep. If you consume too much amphetamine, you will stay awake. It's not the alcohols fault if you drink too much, just as it's not methamphetamine's fault if you consume too much. Personal responsibility in the choices we make is the best path to future health and happiness.

    I don't doubt people when they speak of hallucinations, I just have a hard time relating. With almost 2 decades of use the only hallucinations that I have ever saw, are what I call tracers that I thought were related to needing sleep. When I get them it's time to give the pillow some head, when I wake they are gone.
  14. Nosferatus
    This makes a lot of sense, it always seems that the most dangerous drug in the World is the one you've never tried. I wonder if this has anything do with most people's default fear of the unknown.
  15. jazzyj9
    I agree with you. Meth does awaken mental disorders that weren't there before. In me anyway, I am certain it caused the expression of a latent bipolar trait I had. It also gave me psychotic symptoms that persisted despite the drug being withdrawn that lasted over 6 months. Fortunately I have no residual psychosis.

    Meth changed the nature of my brain chemistry for quite sometime and I am very very fortunate that a lot of that has been restored. I really think if I would have continued using it, I may have developed full on schizophrenia (or permanent meth induced psychosis) The psychotic episodes I had when I would use it had become hellish. In fact, I once hallucinated I had been taken to hell and it was fucking freaky.

    The very last time I used it, I was hospitalized for over 6 months and was catatonic for 3 months during that time. I don't really remember much of those 3 months. I had ECT to bring me back from the catatonia and some atypical anti-psychotics to eliminate the psychosis.

    There is some research out there on persistent meth psychosis and the like on the internet. I don't know if there are any active studies being done, but there are lots of case studies. There were studies done in Japan, since there was heavy meth use there in the past.

    There's just no way around it, meth is a foul drug, and just because some people can use it recreationally and just because big pharma makes money off of it does not negate that fact. Any drug that damages people the way meth does is foul. There are some meth users who are in denial about this fact, who's lives will be consumed by this drug and at the end of some of their their lives, they will regret it. One of my old friends told me that you're never in the moment with meth and I think this is true for some. It was for me anyway. I want to be in every moment, not in my head, watching as some false meth identity had taken over my body and experiences.

    I really wish there would have been the awareness there was of meth when I first was using. I had no idea it was such a foul drug and how it would damage me. Honestly, if I would have seen some of the faces of meth ads, I don't think I would have ever used that shit. So I think it's good that organizations like methproject have tried bring more awareness to communities about meth use and addiction.
  16. Booty love
    You do realize that alot of the toxic chemicals put in these street drugs are meant to be evaporated. Just like smoking base cocaine, its can be made with ether or ammonia, both can kill ya if not evaporated properly.

    The problem is, most street meth is a poor mans drug, and by that i mean,the demand so far outweighs the supply, to cook it properly and safely requires to much money, to much time and too much education, well humans get lazy, greedy and try and replicate the drug using the cheapest products, without proper chemistry skllz and they rush it.
    There is a reason most undereducated, poor societies make crack instead of base or even meth. There is just as much money in crack cocaine, as there is in meth, but one is as easy as scrambled eggs, the other is like cracking the 2 eggs, with one hand, at the same time, without getting one piece of shell or egg on the side of the frying pan. its the same reason these people don't take the time to educate themselves on purification of such drugs.
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