Meth makes a comeback, killing some Alaskans
A drug that was popular 10 to 15 years ago is making a big comeback and it's killing a lot of people in Alaska.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) says from 2014 to 2016, the number of deaths associated with the use of methamphetamines is four times higher compared from 2008 to 2010.
For several years Amy Urbach was hooked on meth. She was forever chasing the experience of that first high.
"It's just this euphoria that comes over you. I mean you feel good," said Urbach.
The first time she tried the drug was at a party. Soon it became an addiction to the point where she even became suicidal.
"I would use whatever was handy to not feel what I was feeling," she said.
Often creating a cocktail of drugs to escape from reality.
"A lot of people do what they call 'speedballs' and they would do, mix heroin and meth together," she said. "Cocaine and meth together, or cocaine and heroin together."
Methamphetamines typically comes in the form of crystals. On Tuesday, the DHSS released a report on the new form of meth that's causing the death of some Alaskans.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jay Butler says, "More and more of methamphetamines is coming in from outside often times in a liquid form."
Doctor Butler says a lot still needs to be learned about this form of meth which is made outside of the United States.
"It is fairly easy to smuggle in because small amounts contain quite a bit of drugs. So even TSA compatible type liquid containers can have methamphetamines in them," said Butler.
The report shows that Anchorage leads the state in amphetamine poisoning, which includes meth, as well.
Butler says the highest age range being affected is between 45 and 54. Also, there have been a few instances where fentanyl, a powerful opioid pain medication, was involved.
"We do know that about half of the people who died of methamphetamine overdoses did have opioids on board at the time of death," said Butler.
Amy Urbach does admit this latest news scares her a bit.
"You know, I have kids and I really hope that I can keep them from using, you know, by showing them my recovery you know," said Urbach.
She's one of the lucky ones -- leaving that lifestyle far behind as she forges ahead.
The report goes on to say that methamphetamine use among Alaska's youth has dropped slightly in the past 10 years. The only difference, almost 29 percent teens and young adults in correctional facilities report using meth. That's compared to just a little over 3 percent by traditional high school students.
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