A new entry has been added to File Archive
12 September 2008
3 News (NZ)
This week's fatal shooting of a police officer involved in an undercover drug operation, has fuelled concern about the dangers of the drug, P.
Drug counsellors say the problem had been allowed to slip back under the radar and people need to know how to spot a user, before it is too late.
According to Tom Claunch, who runs a private rehab clinic, violent behaviour is a common symptom of using the drug. "There seems to be some sort of strange attachment to dungeons and dragons and ninja stuff and swords and knives, he says. "That's part of the violent side."
However he says the everyday symptoms in a user are not always obvious, unless you know what you are looking for. The signs include trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and weight, flightiness of thought, paranoia as well as obsessive compulsive behaviour.
In the later stages the physical signs become apparent. Rotting teeth can set in along with a condition called electric fleas. "They actually think it's little bugs or something crawling under their skin and they start to pick at them," Mr Claunch says.
Mr Claunch says petty theft such as stealing from mum or dad, or neighbours can also indicate a drug problem.
Counsellors say there is a misconception that P addiction only exists among the lower-class. But middle-class and professional people are also among the users, including doctors, lawyers and airline pilots.
Pamela Brown says if she could wind back the clock, she would. She says methamphetamine has ruined her life and has a warning for anyone thinking of trying it. "You will find yourself in situations where your mind will run away with you," Ms Brown says. "And hey, crime comes straight after drug addiction." Ms Brown says help needs to start at home. "Don't lose interest and touch with your kids because that's what's happened," she says. "And now you have people, killing for it."
Counsellors say that P should never be seen as a passing phase, but as progressing illness.
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