I am a mental-health and substance-abuse-treatment professional, and I don’t know if meth is truly a widespread problem in the D.C. area (“The Next Crack Cocaine? No, Not Really,” 3/31), but where I practice, in Augusta and Rockingham county in Virginia, methamphetamine is an epidemic of crisis proportions. I am also aware that it is a widespread problem in the gay community as well. The destruction to addicts’ lives and the lives of family and friends is truly catastrophic.
I would refute Ryan Grim’s claim that methamphetamine is only mildly addictive. I recently completed training at the Alabama School of Alcohol and other Drug Studies and was given information supported by research completed by two federal agencies that provide data for substance-abuse-treatment providers that shows it is indeed quite frequent that users become addicted after only one or two experiences. I’m sure that there are also a lot of folks who don’t, but my own experience in the past five years, which is essentially how long methamphetamine has been a problem in my area, has shown me that this is the most dangerous drug in terms of both physical damage to the body and in terms of the damage it does psychiatrically. I think Grim’s take on methamphetamine may have done a disservice to those who are inclined to experiment with substances and are already at risk for addiction.
I might hazard to guess that if methamphetamine is not a major problem in the D.C. metro area, it will not be long until it spreads from our area to yours.
Recovery Choice Fishersville, Va.