I was at the local recreation center earlier this week, sitting on the bleachers and watching while my children had swimming lessons. Nearby were a group of teenagers who were gossiping about other friends and happenings at school. I was eavesdropping on their conversation and amused by the topics that didn’t seem to have changed since I was in high school, such as how well everyone did on the Hamlet test in English class and whether the Physics teacher was fair or not. Then the talk turned to friends they had in common and someone mentioned “Allie,” someone that they all agreed was in serious trouble. My ears perked up. What kind of trouble could this girl be in? “She’s completely addicted to ice,” one of the kids stated matter-of-factly. “She looks like hell.”
After swimming class was over, I came home and had to look up what “ice” was. When I was in high school, the big deal drugs were marijuana and ecstasy, but I didn’t remember anything called ice. Turns out “ice” is just one name for meth, or methamphetamine. Other names include “crank” and “speed” as well as “crystal meth.” And according to the website Anti-Meth.org, meth is one of the most addictive drugs available. It can create violent behavior, confusion, paranoia, insomnia, and can even result in permanent damage to the cardiovascular system. Addicts also suffer from itchy and scabby skin, tooth decay and brittle bones. Continued use of the drug may result in schizophrenia-like symptoms.
The fact that teenagers experiment with and use drugs isn’t new. The fact that these drugs are getting more and more hardcore may not even be new. The completely addictive nature and the devastating side effects of meth is horrifying, especially when you have kids and know that they’ll be exposed to this drug at some point in their lifetime.
My children may still be young, but I intend to start teaching them about drugs like meth before they are old enough to find out about it on their own. This is one of those things that I don’t ever what them to experiment with or even come close to. I intend to show them this page and to talk to them about how quickly the use of meth – or any other drug, for that matter – can destroy their life.
And I sincerely hope that girl from the local high school gets help and that her friends learn some important lessons, as terrible as those lessons may be.