The Meth Effect: Part 1
BATON ROUGE - Methamphetamine abuse has become a substantial force across Louisiana, and authorities are taking steps to fight it even as its use spreads.
But former users say there's no fight greater than the one between meth and an addict.
Kevin Thompson, who's been off the drug for four years says he's one of six percent of meth users that actually walk away and stay away. The reason: meth is one of the strongest, longest-lasting and easiest drugs to make.
"When I first started it I controlled it, and within a six-month period it controlled me," said Thompson.
Doctors say it's considered the most dangerous drug in the country from a health perspective. Many lose teeth to "meth mouth", some suffer from skin sores and accelerated aging because of the drug, but doctors say what's going on inside is worse.
Dr. Ronald Coe, the Livingston Parish Coroner, says the drug deals both short- and long-term damage to the heart, lungs, brain, kidney, and liver. He says meth is one of the worst killers because it's also one of the best highs, releasing six times more dopamine into the brain than alcohol, nictonine or morphine, and about four times as much dopamine as cocaine.
"Compared to cocaine which lasts about an hour to two hours as far as a high goes, off of one hit of methamphetamine, you can have a high that will last between eight and twelve hours," he said.
And even when you're off the drug, the memories last. Thompson admits the world of meth is never far from his mind, still today.
"I'd be lying to say I don't think about it," he said, "But I always just try to put the things I've got in life now, just keep focused on them and make sure I don't lose focus of how good I've got it now."
Tuesday night on "The Meth Effect," News 2 will take you into a meth lab bust and tell you how the cost to do it is rising on your shoulders.