In 2015, 31% of drug offenses in Montana involved methamphetamine. The only drug involved in more violations during that same year was marijuana. Even combining heroin offenses with those involving other narcotics would not come close to equalling the number of methamphetamine violations.
Not only were methamphetamine offenses more prevalent than those involving most other drugs, but that number represented a significant statewide spike over the previous 10 years.
How has the prevalence of methamphetamine violations changed?
According to the Montana Department of Justice, there were 1,243 methamphetamine violations statewide in 2015. This represents a 427% increase from the 236 offenses recorded in 2010 and is more than twice the 561 violations in 2005.
Incidentally, 2005 was also the year that retailers had to comply with greater restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter products containing pseudoephedrine due to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient used in the manufacture of meth, and the goal of the law was to limit access to it to people with legitimate medical needs.
What are the effects of taking methamphetamine?
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in the short term meth can cause increased blood pressure, decreased appetite, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat. Meth is very potent, so even a small amount can produce effects such as these. Another effect of methamphetamine is elevated body temperature, or hyperthermia, which can reach life-threatening levels.
Long-term use of methamphetamine can cause mental health issues:
- Mood disturbances
- Memory loss
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
Chronic meth use can also cause severe dental problems that can ultimately lead to tooth loss. The combination of vomiting and extreme anorexia, i.e., loss of appetite, can cause the body to become dangerously thin.