Meth addiction in Naples is not as severe as the rest of the country. Meth addiction in South Florida is on the rise with specific populations. Often combined with Viagra, Meth has become the party drug of choice for events intended for multi-partner sexual activities. There has also been a significant increase in crystal methamphetamine use among individuals within the South Florida club scene. The 2009 Medical Examiners Commission Drug Report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement states that there were 81 methamphetamine-related deaths throughout the state for that year. Crystal methamphetamine, with high purity levels, is transported from Atlanta into northern Florida, which is then distributed throughout the state.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance; it has rapid access to the brain, which develops a high tolerance requiring more use to achieve the so-called “high” effects. It is for this reason that meth addicts disappear for days, going into binges of a continuous high. Methamphetamine remains in the user’s system for a longer period of time than the experience of the high. Therefore, to maintain the high, an abuser must smoke or inject more methamphetamine, building up the amount of the drug present. Each time the abuser ingests more of the drug, a decreased euphoric rush is experienced, until finally, there is no rush and no high. During the binge cycle, which lasts 3-15 days, the abuser becomes both mentally and physically hyperactive. This cycle is the reason that meth becomes difficult to treat.
At the end of a binge, when the body becomes tolerant to the high level of methamphetamine that is present, tweaking occurs. Nothing that the abuser does, including taking more methamphetamine, will relieve the feelings of emptiness and dysphoria. Tweaking is very uncomfortable, and the abuser often uses a depressant to ease or numb these bad feelings. The most popular depressant is alcohol, with heroin a close second.
For law enforcement or people near the abuser, the most dangerous time to encounter a binging abuser is during the stage of tweaking. If the abuser is using alcohol to ease the discomfort, then threat to law enforcement officers intensifies. During this stage, law enforcement officers must clearly identify the underlying dangers of the situation and avoid the assumption that the tweaker is merely a cocky drunk. It is also during this stage that the person is very psychotic, experiencing a phenomenon called “meth bugs,” which causes people to disfigure themselves beyond comprehension often.