Methamphetamine Addiction and Rehab in Tempe, Arizona

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There are many people in Tempe, Arizona that are facing the difficulties of methamphetamine (meth) addiction and need treatment. They need to know that help is available to them. No one has to face addiction alone.

Tempe is located in Maricopa County. Maricopa County is the United States’ fourth-most populous county. With a population in 2021 of 4,651,440 more than half the people in Arizona live in Maricopa county. With that many people in the county, it is likely more than just a couple of people could be battling meth addiction.

Meth abuse is dangerous. There are many side effects and long-term health problems. The side effects go away when someone stops using, but some of the health problems can show up long after they stop using meth. Going to an inpatient rehab facility can be a life-changing decision.

Meth Use Statistics For Tempe, Arizona

Meth use has been on the rise in the United States. A report from the CDC says that from 2015-2018 an average of 1.6 million adults used meth at least once during the year. Of that number, 52.9% reported having a meth use disorder. The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 2 million people in the United States aged 12 and older used meth during 2019.

The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner 2019 annual report shows that a little over 600 overdose deaths involved Meth. That number has increased each year since 2015. The Arizona Department of Health Services lists all hospitalizations and emergency room visits caused by drug use for each county. This includes data for all age groups.

  • In 2018 there were 12,838 people hospitalized related to amphetamine use in Maricopa county
  • In 2018 there were 9,183 emergency room visits related to amphetamine use in Maricopa county

A report released by the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership states that the price of meth decreased by 58% between 2015 and 2019. Law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels have seen a 342% increase in meth seized from 2015 to 2019.

  • 3,574 kilograms of meth collected in 2015
  • 4,939 kilograms of meth collected in 2016
  • 6,400 kilograms of meth collected in 2017
  • 11,988 kilograms of meth collected in 2018
  • 15,791 kilograms of meth collected in 2019

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. Meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward, a large amount of dopamine released at once can bring a feeling of euphoria. Meth’s ability to rapidly release large levels of dopamine reinforces drug use, making the user want to use again.

Meth can be found as a pill or white powder. Crystal meth looks like pieces of glass or shiny blue-white rocks. Meth can be swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected. There are a lot of street names for meth:

  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Crystal
  • Fire
  • Glass
  • Go fast
  • Ice
  • Speed
  • Tina
  • Blue
  • Shards
  • Biker’s coffee
  • Stovetop
  • Tweak
  • Trash
  • Dunk
  • Quartz

The History of Meth

Scientists developed manmade amphetamines as an alternative to the ephedra plant. An extract from the ephedra plant has been used in Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. A Japanese chemist named Nagai Nagayoshi figured out the active chemical in the plant in 1885. It is a stimulant called ephedrine.

In 1893 another Japanese chemist first made methamphetamine from another stimulant. It was used as a medicine to treat narcolepsy and asthma. It was also used as a weight loss drug. During World War II it was used by both sides to keep troops awake. After the war use of meth increased significantly. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was used as a medication for obesity and depression.

How Meth is Made

Meth is created by taking a common ingredient from cold medicine and cooking it with other ingredients. This changes the pseudoephedrine in the cold medicine to meth. The other ingredients used can be paint thinner, acetone, drain cleaner, or even battery acid. Cooking meth can be very dangerous.

The Dangers of Meth Labs

Meth can be made by individuals in a variety of places. Meth labs use common household equipment and chemicals. Meth labs have been found in apartments, barns, sheds, out in the woods, and even in car trunks. Making meth creates a lot of toxic waste.

Waste dumped from meth labs exposes people to toxic chemicals. Often family members of those making meth and first responders are injured. Exposure to the toxic chemicals can cause:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Burns to the skin, eyes, nose, mouth
  • Death

The Effects of Meth

Meth has many health effects besides the dopamine release that causes euphoria. There are short-term and long-term health effects. There are other risks related to the behaviors associated with meth use.

Short term effects of meth include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased physical activity and wakefulness
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature

Long term effects of meth include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Intense itching, which can lead to sores from scratching
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping problems
  • Changes in brain structure
  • Severe dental problems
  • Violent behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Meth and Parkinson’s Disease

There are studies that suggest that meth users have an increased chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects 7 to 10 million people worldwide. Early symptoms include shaking, slow movement, and trouble walking. Later symptoms include cognitive and behavioral problems and dementia.

Meth use damages the brain cells involved in the transport of dopamine. This causes changes in the brain similar to that of Parkinson’s disease. Meth users are almost twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s later in life than those who do not use the drug.

Signs of Meth Use

People who are addicted to meth could be very good at hiding their addiction. There are some specific things that might alert someone to another person’s meth addiction. If more than one or two of these signs are noticeable it is likely they have an addiction.

Psychological Signs of Meth Addiction

Meth floods the brain with dopamine, triggering feelings of euphoria. Dopamine does more than make someone feel pleasure. Dopamine also affects learning abilities and memory. After using meth for a long time an addict may have memory problems. They may also show signs of not being able to learn new skills.

Meth addicts may also show signs of psychosis. Psychosis is a mental condition where someone has lost contact with reality. When someone is experiencing psychosis, they may hallucinate. They also may not be able to tell what is real and what is not.

Physical Signs of Meth Addiction

There are some noticeable physical signs of meth use which include:

  • Intense scratching
  • Rotting teeth
  • Thinning body/ weight loss
  • Acne or sores
  • Reduced appetite
  • Hyperactivity
  • Twitching, jerky movements
  • Repetitive behavior (compulsively cleaning or taking apart objects and putting them back together repeatedly)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Burns on lips or fingers
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Outbursts and agitation
  • Exaggerated mannerisms
  • Rapid breathing
  • Talking constantly

Meth Detox in Tempe, Arizona

To break a meth addiction the first step can be attending a detox program. Detoxification is when a substance completely leaves the body. During this process, a person goes through physical and mental changes while not continuing to use a substance.

For most people trying to quit meth on their own is hard. Many people will start to use again to stop the withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and require medical supervision.

Common withdrawal symptoms of meth addiction include depression, anxiety, and tiredness. A study also showed that psychotic symptoms lasted for a week in the participants who had used meth. Meth cravings lasted at least five weeks.

Types of Detox Treatments

There are a few different types of detox programs available to those in Tempe, Arizona who want help to stop using meth. It is advisable to be in a program for this part of recovery, especially if someone is experiencing psychosis or hallucinations. Treatment types include:

Holistic detox– A holistic detox approach uses natural methods to support the body while it empties of drugs or alcohol.  The method combines nutritional therapy, emotional support, and exercise programs to assist recovery. Many people detoxing from meth addictions do not have healthy bodies.

Medical detox- Medical detox uses medical supervision to monitor withdrawal symptoms. For some people, monitoring is necessary to watch for life-threatening symptoms such as seizures or psychotic episodes.  In this setting, medications can be given to avoid some symptoms.

Medication assisted treatment- Medication assisted treatment combines medication and behavioral therapy. This treatment usually uses FDA-approved medications that do not impair a person’s mental state. There are no FDA-approved medications specifically for meth addiction, but other medications can help with some of the symptoms.

Meth Addiction Rehab Options

After going through a detox program it is time to move on to rehab. As mentioned above the physical cravings for meth can last much longer after the detox. During rehab, a person can focus on the psychological part of the addiction. Understanding the reasons behind drug use is necessary to make lasting changes. The best place to explore therapy options is at an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab center.

What is Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Inpatient treatment centers make a variety of benefits available to those who want to recover from meth addictions. Patients do not leave the facility during their treatment. They have twenty-four-hour-a-day support and medical intervention if needed.

Most inpatient stays are twenty-eight days long. The amount of time a person stays in rehab is based on the severity of the addiction. The amount of progress someone makes influences how long they may need to stay at an inpatient treatment center. Sometimes they can stay longer.

Types of Addiction Therapy

During an addiction rehab program, there are different types of therapy available to help change behavior patterns. The course of therapy treatment is based on the needs of each individual. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Some types of therapy are:

  • Dialectical Behavioral therapy Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) helps an individual manage strong emotions or stressful situations in a healthy way. DBT was originally created to help those with borderline personality disorder. DBT includes one on one therapy, group therapy, and as-needed coaching over the phone.
  • The Matrix Model The Matrix Model was originally created for helping stimulant (meth and cocaine) abusers beat addictions. Patients are monitored for drug use by urine testing. The therapist is a teacher and a coach, reinforcing positive behavior change. Treatment pulls from other tested treatments including relapse prevention, family and group therapy, drug education, and self-help participation.
  • Experiential Therapy- Experiential therapy tries to bring out deep inner lying problems through activities other than standard talk therapy.  This works by engaging in activities to bring out emotions that could be attached to subconscious issues. Activities can include but are not limited to creating art such as painting or sculpting, hiking, dancing, and horseback riding.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients recognize negative thought patterns, stop the thoughts, and replace them with healthy thoughts.  This focuses on the present rather than on memories and the past. CBT can be helpful for those that struggle with anxiety, depression, and need to improve self-control.
  • Contingency Management- Contingency management reinforces abstinence by providing tangible rewards. These types of programs have been effective with opioid and stimulant recovery patients. There are two types of contingency management, voucher-based, and prize incentives-based.

In voucher-based reinforcement, patients get a voucher that can be exchanged for goods or services with each drug-free urine sample. The voucher values increase over time. A drug-positive urine sample resets the voucher values back to the low point.

The prize incentive program is similar to the voucher-based but offers cash prizes instead of vouchers. When patients provide a clean urine or breath test, they can draw from a bowl of prizes worth $1-$100. Patients can also draw for attending counseling sessions. The number of draws starts with one and increases over time. Any unexcused absence or positive sample resets the draws to one chance.

Types of Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab programs can be good for someone who has finished inpatient treatment but still needs more therapy. During outpatient therapy, people can continue to work on skills learned during inpatient therapy sessions. The longer an addict works on therapy the better chance they can avoid a relapse. Types of outpatient programs include:

  • Partial hospitalization programs- (PHPs) This type of program is the most intense outpatient program. It is sometimes called a day treatment program. These programs meet five to seven days a week for several hours a day. Afterward, the patient returns home.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs- (IOP) this style of outpatient treatment can be good for people who do not have co-occurring disorders but need more than a once-a-week counseling session.  IOPs usually meet three to four times a week for approximately three hours at a time. The primary focus is group therapy, but individual counseling can be available if needed.
  • Traditional Outpatient Therapy- Patients can meet with a counselor once a week or several times a week depending on the amount of care they need. This is usually best for someone who has already been through more involved therapy and could still benefit from counseling sessions.

Meth Addiction Treatment Continuing Care

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says treatment that is less than 90 days is not very effective. To continue therapy one option is to go to a sober living home. Here people live with other recovering addicts. They need to have a job to pay rent, food, and utility expenses. They are also required to go to outpatient therapy at a treatment center.

Another option for continuing care would be a 12-step program. Programs like Narcotics Anonymous are peer-led support group meetings. There is no professional therapy, but it is beneficial to help someone stay drug-free.

Is Meth Addiction Treatment Covered by Insurance?

Yes, insurance will cover some inpatient rehab costs. Some policies may cover all rehab costs. The Affordable Care Act, which was passed into law in 2010, requires mental health and substance use disorders to be covered by insurance. In-network facilities will cost less than out-of-network facilities. In-network means the insurance company already has a contract to work with the treatment facility.

More Information About Meth Addiction Treatment in Tempe, Arizona

At SpringBoard Arizona, we want to help people recover from meth addiction. We know that there are many people out there that do not know who to turn to for help with addiction.

We offer inpatient rehab and detox services for anyone who wants to get clean. SpringBoard Arizona can make a difference. If you or a loved one need help, please contact us today.


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