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Scientist Says Meth Isn't So Bad, Doesn't Even Cause Ugliness or Tooth Loss

Categories: Drugs

faces_of_meth.JPG
facesofmeth.us
Are side by side photos like these an exaggeration?
There is probably no drug more vilified these days than meth, and Missouri is often said to be the capital of meth production. That's not something to be proud of considering many people think the average meth user smokes bathtub cleaner chemicals before arrested for biting -- with their last two good teeth -- the face of a convenience store worker in a botched attempt to steal a carton of Marlboro Reds.

But a new report from Dr. Carl Hart, a neuropharmacologist at Columbia University, says there are a lot of misconceptions about meth. In fact, it might not be as bad as we think it is.

In the study, titled "Methamphetamine: Facts vs. Fiction," Hart compares the current meth scare to the crack scare of the 1980s. Misinformation during the Reagan era led many to hold the common belief that a hit of crack would cause first-time users to get addicted and the drug caused many dangerous and deadly side-effects.

This, partially caused by media reports that sensationalized the facts about crack use, led to 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act that set mandatory minimum sentences of extreme and disproportionate lengths, compared to other drugs, in particular cocaine, which crack is almost identical to chemically. Crack was more common in black neighborhoods than white neighborhoods during the 1980s, so the law disproportionately affected black people.

See also: The Justice System is On Crack

The law stated that a person convicted of selling 5 grams of crack cocaine was required to serve a minimum sentence of five years in prison convictions involving 50 grams of crack carried a minimum sentence of 10 years. To receive similar sentences for trafficking in powder cocaine, individuals needed to have been caught selling (or intending to sell) 500 grams and kilograms of cocaine, respectively.

Eager to profit off the drug scare for political purposes, many state politicians created their own anti-drug laws, including here in Missouri, where the Prior and Persistent Drug Offender statute was created in 1987. That law gave a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life for anybody convicted of a third drug felony. As a result, many people convicted with very small yet felonious amounts of drugs served extreme sentences. For example, a few grams of crack could and still does get people 10 to 20 years in Missouri.

See also: 20 Years for $40 of Crack, 10 Years for 2 Oz. of Pot? It Happens in St. Louis, Not Just Out West

Hart says the same fear-mongering that led to illogical and unjust legal policy in the 1980s is happening again, this time with meth.

Click on the next page for more meth...


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98 comments
cocotanya31
cocotanya31

I agree with this artical. I am a 37 year old African American women. I have used meth,smoking, for about 15 years. I used while i was pregnant with my son. He had no physical deformities . He was diagnosed with ADHD. I live in Lawton Oklahoma a military town. I was introduced to anhydrous . A different chemical form of meth then crystal meth. Back then it was in the white community in trailer parks. Also in the indian community which makes up a large percentage of oklahoma. The person who "turned me on" to it was a black girlfriend who i knew from my school years. We also use to work together. Well she married a military man had kids. I only had my daughter at the time and my son father and i lived together. Which was also across from my friend. I was working i am educated. I had a problem with my weight. My friend turn me on to it. I lost weight. Energy to clean house . Lawton Oklahoma is the reason for the Nick Green Law. We are the meth cap of the states. Crack heads are now meth heads. Alot of newer users. Are skipping smoking and start off shooting for the first time. Lot of blacks . More stealing. White collar crimes. Unlike the crack head who would still your vcr or worst microwave. I know or have friends that steal your idenity. I dont look like a meth head i have my teeth my breast is a size H im over 200lbs look me up on you tube Tanya coco. Im enrolled in a trade school havent started. Will not continue because of school. Own house paid off car Chrysler 300 2010 is furniture paid off. I am struggling i have put drugs before my kids and home before on my past im fighting to maintain. So many people on meth lost everything. Wanting change its boring to do ran out of thimgs to tweek on tired of casino

Rita Kiry Ryan
Rita Kiry Ryan

"No empirical evidence." Sounds like your typical egg-headed nerd.

Nat Sirius
Nat Sirius

That guy is an idiot. I cannot believe he would have the nerve to say ANY of what he said. Toolbag.

Peter Kassler
Peter Kassler

we have newspapers like that, too. Just now the BILD found two people having died from THC use. A big joke!

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

So this article attacks the scientist's claims without using science to debunk him? OK I know most of Missourians are scientifically illiterate but I did not think that RFT would go as far as to post an article that refutes the claims of a scientist without even bringing forth peer reviewed studies that contradict his. Sorry RFT you need to bring a little more evidence to the table then A Before And After Picture.

Lois Starr Prettyman
Lois Starr Prettyman

Well, he MAY be full of BS, but he might be right about the fact that there is no real research to support the fact that meth use makes you uglier. But honestly, do we really NEED such a study? I mean, isn't it simple common sense?

Mswazi Msanii
Mswazi Msanii

Oh how Meth made her a blond..the research sounds legit..

Joel Kretzmann
Joel Kretzmann

just the lifestyle of addiction or publising bs requirement

Sean Neuber
Sean Neuber

Most meth heads were ugly to begin but this scientist is an idiot.

Tony Mason
Tony Mason

this clown is a damn fool then. i work in facilities with recovery's and have seen the damage done.

Brenda Denton Langbein
Brenda Denton Langbein

I witnessed firsthand what it did to a friend of mine. That article is total BS.

James Ratcliff
James Ratcliff

This guy lost all credibilty with "Another misconception is the addictive power of meth. But it's not much more addictive than alcohol"

Gina Ackworth
Gina Ackworth

Right just like crack doesn't cause tooth loss either. Get out of here.

Rog Berry
Rog Berry

so you best not dabble in the meth either

Jeff Baum
Jeff Baum

I think Dr. Carl Hart is an idiot and probably a meth user too!

Carrie Harris
Carrie Harris

What an insane headline! It is obvious that the rft has no idea how to write a journalistic piece that can captivate and intrigue readers. It is an embarrassment.

Anthony Rogers
Anthony Rogers

If drugs are so bad, then why does the C.I.A. sell them?

Arlana Collins Nugent
Arlana Collins Nugent

RFT you have proven you are not a reliable source for serious news YET AGAIN!

Ryan Paluczak
Ryan Paluczak

Sara, no one is saying meth is good, or meth is safe... It's one fucking study. Everyone needs to chill out.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

The contaminants in meth causing any of those issues is a myth. The chemicals you mention are sometimes used in the production of meth, but are not present in the finished product. Meth has been in use (and abuse) for over 40 years, and "meth mouth" just became a phrase around 2003.

Sara Ivie
Sara Ivie

Poor hygiene plays a role, but what about the anhydrous ammonia, phosphoric acid, and god only knows what else? This prohibits absorption of many essential vitamins and mineras.

bree_z_636
bree_z_636

Then what would explain the differences in the photos we have all seen?  Im calling BS

Sara Ivie
Sara Ivie

There is no way to have an accurate study considering every batch of meth is different. The guy does a disservice claiming it might not be that bad.

Sara Ivie
Sara Ivie

Bullshit. I have a list of people from high school that can prove it causes rapid aging, craziness, and addiction. Meth is primarily made in the basement by a hilbilly with 2 teeth and an 8th grade education, from chemicals that have no business ever being put into the human body intentionally. I've seen crazy meth heads come into the ER. And we have no idea what the long term damage is going to be. I am curious to see what it does in the aging process and dementia. It should be interesting. This guy if full of shit.

Jordan Troy
Jordan Troy

READ the article before you post stupid comments please.

Charles D King
Charles D King

This knuckle-head needs to spend some time in a ER waiting room. Meth heads are so easy to spot. They are the one with rotten teeth,filthy clothes and unwashed bodies.

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

For what it's worth, she was just as ugly in the before photo!

Cory Hart
Cory Hart

This is ridiculous. Shake and bake meth or any home cooked stuff with household chemicals is totally different than than Adderall or other amphetamine made under safe controlled conditions by pharmaceutical companies.

snook.yoseph88
snook.yoseph88

@cocotanya31 I think that the real damage is the lack of sleep, and lack of nutrition that fuck you up. I used to do meth a lot, and from this experience I have come to notice that the main reason for the bad effects were because I wasn't eating, and I was staying up for days. I would hear voices and see shadow people, but I knew what I was seeing and hearing was all in my head. After all that nonsense I realized that it's really your central nervous system being over worked on top of sleep deprivation and lack of nutrition. Now when I do meth I force myself to eat, drink lots of water, and I don't re-dose if its late in the evening. Now I use once a month, and never have any of the nasty effects. I'm not advocating meth use either. I don't care if someone reads this and thinks I'm full of shit, because I know it's not. You can't properly educate yourself about substance use because of all the propaganda out there.


jbradhicks
jbradhicks

@bree_z_636  Study (plus decades of history, heck, most of the troops in WW2 practically lived on meth by the end of the war) shows that meth itself is relatively harmless. However ...

1) The things you do to afford meth may be quite bad for your health.

2) Other chemicals that are likely to be contaminating street meth can easily turn out to be bad for your health.

3) Desperately poor people skip medical appointments, skip dental appointments, can't afford their medications. Poverty wrecks your health.

4) With enough meth, you can stay awake and mobile almost indefinitely. But it is not a good way to do so -- after the first 12 hours or so, it starts to take a toll on your organs.

5) Meth is a powerful appetite suppressant. Anorexia and vitamin deficiency wreck your health.

If methamphetamine had been discovered in the 15th or 16th century, every office in America would have a meth dispenser instead of a coffee dispenser, and everybody but a handful of addictive personalities would use it responsibly. But presumably in that timeline, there'd be periodic moral panics about the lengths that caffeine addicts go to in order to score coffee, about what black-market coffee is adulterated with, and people would be demanding harsher and harsher penalties for coffee making and coffee sales.

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