The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life in Southern California, across the United States, and around the world in many different ways and on various levels. The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase in the use of mind-altering substances. This includes an increase in both the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine. The uptick in the use of meth is enhancing the already formidable challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overview of Meth and Meth Use

Chemically, meth is a highly addictive stimulant that impacts the pleasure center of a user’s brain. Meth is deemed a highly addictive drug. Indeed, research into meth reveals that there are incidents in which a person becomes addicted to the drug after only minimal use of it. 

People experience immediate pleasure after ingesting meth. The immediate pleasure response is short-lived. However, a meth user also experiences a sense of euphoria that can last from between six to 12 hours. 

Despite this so-called “positive” response to meth use, ultimately the use of meth can and will have a seriously negative impact on a user’s physical, psychological, and emotional health. Indeed, with the increase in meth use since the onset of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, more people are expected to die from overdoses associated with methamphetamine use. 

Overview of Meth Manufacturing

Meth manufacturing is a dangerous process. Indeed, a considerable number of meth “cooks” (people who manufacture meth in makeshift labs) end up seriously injured or even killed in the process of making meth.

Meth making involves the use of an array of different types of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are hazardous in and of themselves. Others become dangerous when combined with other substances. Examples of some of the chemicals that oftentimes are part of the meth making process include:

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium metal
  • Sodium metal
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Hydrogen chloride gas
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Toluene
  • Naptha (Coleman Fuel)
  • Freon
  • Ethyl ether
  • Chloroform
  • Methyl ethyl ketone

Reasons for the Increase in Meth Use

The manner in which meth initially impacts a user is a primary reason why the drug arguably has become more appealing since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does meth provide a user with immediate, intense pleasure and a sense of euphoria, it also gives a feeling of:

  • Increased energy
  • Enhanced focus
  • Heightened confidence
  • Improved sexual prowess
  • Enlarged feelings of desirability 

During the pandemic, there has been an uptick in the number of people turning to alcohol and drugs to “ease the pain” associated with major disruptions that have occurred in society. For some people, this has resulted in a turn to or return to meth use. This use of meth stems in no small way from the so-called “positive feelings” that stem from the use of this particular drug, as was outlined a moment ago. 

Medical professionals have concluded that self-medication is an issue among the “newer” meth users that have turned to this drug during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than admit they need professional assistance (which they might consider embarrassing or find expensive), these people turn to mind-altering substances like meth with the idea that doing so will combat issues they face. They conclude that they can combat depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional issues through the use of meth rather than seeking professional treatment for one or another of these conditions.

Another reason there has been an increase in the number of people using meth during the COVID-19 pandemic is cost. When contrasted with other drugs, meth is a relatively inexpensive one. Meth can be manufactured cheaply. In addition, thus far meth can be brought into the United States relatively inexpensively as well. 

More people are turning to meth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic because they are more isolated as a result of stay at home directives and business closings. They find themselves with proverbial cabin fever and turn to mind-altering substances as a means of combating that type of situation. Meth is becoming one of these mind-altering substances an increasing number of people are turning to for this reason.

Finally, meth is attracting people desiring to use a mind-altering substance because this drug is widely available. In many communities across Southern California, throughout the state, and around the country, meth can be found with relative ease. 

Increase of Meth Use and Impact on Healthcare System

Due to the serious health consequences potentially associated with meth abuse, the increase in the number of people using methamphetamine as an outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic places increased demand on the healthcare system. In many locations across the country, healthcare systems can ill-afford an uptick in demand for their services. The demand from COVID-19 patients alone is pressuring healthcare systems as is. Even seemingly smaller increases may prove to be enough to send certain healthcare systems into a crisis situation.