Stigma and stereotype are the framework of the war on drugs. It will crumble into a heap of love and compassion if we ever manage to yank out those load-bearing beams. The way we tell our stories of use and addiction often reveals our dedication to maintaining that stigma.
Amphetamine and Methylphenidate (Ritalin) use doubled in the United States between 2006-2016. In the midwest, around 70 milligrams-per-person are prescribed every year (click for source). Methamphetamine is just one of many forms of the drug, its claim to fame being smokability and easy injection.
We love drugs in the United States, but we hate to talk openly about our use. We prefer to stigmatize and shame others who use different drugs than we do, or who use the same drugs but use them differently, or who use them more often than us. The shame we learned to associate with drug users as children is so unavoidable that we keep applying it even when we begin using drugs ourselves.
We haven't learned how to "decolonize our imaginations" (bell hooks), so we tribalize and label--we place ourselves on some sort of pedestal by tearing down our fellow drug users. This is a strategy as old as power--turn those who might oppose you against themselves lest they join forces and pursue their mutual interests. The war on drugs is the reason why potheads hate crack-smokers, and why nodders (heroin users) talk shit about "tweekers" (meth users). We are tribalized by the war on drugs to see ourselves as superior to those people over there--to those Others who lack the moral tenets which we all pretend to live by.
If you are smoking weed, you are no better or worse than your neighbor who is injecting heroin. And if you are drinking a cup of coffee, or doing some push-ups, or meditating, or binge watching you are no different than us potheads. The human mind is a complicated machine, and it needs all sorts of fuel: sugar, hormones, and neurotransmitters. We take different routes, and we use different methods for achieving desired states of mind, but we are all looking to feel better, to maximize quality of life, to reach our potential.
(Meth)Amphetamine helps hundreds of thousands of people do that every year. And it is safe when taken in appropriate doses by people who have been medically and psychologically screened. Talk to your doctor, and if you don't have insurance, find a local medical clinic, but learn how to talk about your condition before you go. If you think you might benefit from amphetamine, learn what that means so you don't get kicked out for saying the wrong thing. The war on drugs is a fickle monster, and right now it is targeting doctors who dare to talk openly to their patients about drugs.
We (addicted people) don't get into trouble until we find ourselves on the streets, buying our (meth)amphetamine from seedy basements and smoking or injecting it without medical supervision. (Meth)Amphetamine is a powerful drug, and it often works great to treat our depression, anxiety, or social phobias. And as always, the war on drugs makes sure that when the treatment works, we will keep going back to our street dealers and friends instead of our doctors and therapists. We don't have any other choice. Some users are so desperate to get it that they extract it from their urine after using.
Drug users would never resort to extreme measures like buying drugs off the street or extracting methamphetamine from our urine if we could buy clean, cheap methamphetamine from a reputable dealer (preferably a doctor). Our permanent war on drugs ensures that users are instead funneled to the streets and to the prisons instead of to doctors and treatment.
Check out these great resources about the history of (meth)amphetamine use in the United States HERE
Harm Reduction Tip: Check out this article about "Booty Bumping Meth" for safer use options.
And as always, do your homework and read your history books. (Meth)amphetamine in the US has a fascinating history, legally and illegally. Its mechanisms of action are super-interesting. You can also check out Andy Warhol's methamphetamine stories HERE. The Rolling Stones' use of Merck Cocaine HERE. And all things that get you high here, on the Dr. Junkie Show.
Oh, and from our After Episode Detox (after the end music), check out comedian Jessa Reed talking about drinking her own Meth Pee HERE.