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Methamphetamine and Breaking Bad

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Methamphetamine and Breaking Bad

The popularity of Breaking Bad  has me thinking about meth. I’m amazed at the number of people I talk to who either watched the series over the holidays, sometimes for a second time, or are watching it now (including me).

A cable TV series becoming so successful is historic. Some viewers have a hard time with the drug culture it depicts, but the cable show also holds moral lessons.  So much of the media deals with drugs, which makes you wonder, is it because they’re so ubiquitous in our culture and they know people will tune in? Joan mentioned  how many movies out now have to do with alcohol or drug use, from Blue Jasmine, to Dallas Buyers Club to August: Osage County, and even to Captain Phillips, in which Somalis smoke khat. However, Breaking Bad will be remembered as a classic, not that I’m the first to predict that.

But back to meth. I’ve written a few posts about meth. I listed some information about it in that post:

Meth has limited medical uses, according to NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA’s webpage for the drug  is chock full of information. You can smoke, snort, or inject methamphetamine, or dissolve it in water or alcohol and drink it (although it has a bitter taste), and it produces an intense rush when taken the first three ways I mentioned.

In NIDA’S words:

Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. Chronic methamphetamine abusers can also display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin). Transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C can [also] be consequences of methamphetamine abuse.”

In case you find THIS NIDA page on meth:, it’s from 2010. Too bad it doesn’t redirect viewers to the newer one I mention above. 

Frontline, a PBS program, has a photo of a “meth mouth” on its site that should scare young people out of their wits. Other physical problems include acne, sores that don’t heal, and a lackluster complexion. If you’ve seen before and after photos of meth users (before using and after a couple years of using), you know what the drug can do to a person’s looks.

The site also says that “Over time, meth destroys dopamine receptors, making it impossible to feel pleasure.”  According to a paper by NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow, however, with abstinence, the receptors can be regrown over time, although the person won’t regain all cognitive abilities lost. The bad news just goes on and on with this drug.

Here’s an interesting resource for information on meth: This is a page from the website of a Narconon chapter with blog posts on meth. Check out New Candy Flavored Meth Emerges from Thailand, 5 Hidden Meth Use Dangers, and Three Things About Meth That Users Don’t Tell You (the last one mentions Breaking Bad).

Funny, in one Breaking Bad episode, Walt’s DEA Agent brother-in-law tells RJ, Walt’s son, that pot is a gateway drug to meth.  There’s an entry in the list of blog posts on the Narconon chapter site titled From Marijuana to Meth.


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