Did you know that for the price of a steak dinner, you can buy 1/2 gram of meth?
In the average steakhouse, a ribeye costs about $50.00. If you’re not a meat-eater, substitute your favorite meal at a pasta restaurant. You’ll still spend close to what it costs to buy enough meth to get the average addict through only a day or two.
For people who aren’t addicted to meth, it doesn’t typically make sense that anyone would choose meth over a wonderful dinner at a restaurant. But it might not sound strange to you if meth is a big part of your daily existence.
Maybe you’ve never thought about your meth use in comparison to what you’d spend at a good restaurant. Is your mouth watering yet?
If you’re craving a steak or your favorite vegan dish right now, we want to help you understand why using meth might prevent you from enjoying a good meal.
Take a few minutes and learn what you’re really paying to use meth. You’ll be surprised to find out the cost of methamphetamine isn’t just felt in your wallet.
The Cost of Methamphetamines
Any substance use costs money, but the cost to use meth can be huge. Of course, cost depends on the area of the country you live in, but if you’re a casual user, plan on spending roughly $27,000 per year. The addicted user spends $74,000 on meth on average.
These numbers are just what comes out of our wallet. They don’t include what your doctor makes to treat you if you overdose, or what your lawyer pockets if you get into legal trouble.
The financial impact deepens even further for users who get caught with meth in their possession.
Pay for Your Lawyer’s Vacation
The discussion starts with a look at legal fees. Lawyers require retainer fees, which are paid upfront in most cases. Depending on whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you may pay as much as $10,000 for the retainer.
The total dollar amount for legal fees depends on how complex the case is, and how long it takes to fight it.
Due to the huge increase in meth laws at both the federal and state level, penalties are now more severe than ever for people caught with the drug. Depending on the state you live in, the amount you’re caught with and your lawyer’s ability to fight your case successfully, you could:
- Pay a fine
- Serve a misdemeanor jail sentence
- Serve a lengthy prison term for a felony conviction
The costs to fight a legal case can bankrupt an individual, but there are other ways meth users suffer financially.
Treatment Isn’t Cheap
Addiction recovery, in general, is costly, but meth addiction recovery is also an intense and lengthy process, furthering driving up costs.
Treatment starts with a 30 to 60-day detox followed by at least another 30 days of intensive inpatient therapy. Once a user is discharged from inpatient treatment, they should begin outpatient therapy. Length of treatment and cost depends on the severity of the addiction and the type of treatment program chosen.
The cost for treatment ranges from $15,000 to $27,000. Medical insurance may pay for a portion of the bill, but usually, patients are responsible for the rest.
The question of how much you and/or your family can afford to pay for treatment is certainly important, but perhaps even more important is finding a high-quality facility where you receive the best care possible.
The impact on your wallet is significant, but the physical costs are also severe.
Your Body Pays Dearly
No one starts out using drugs to deliberately destroy their body. But the end results of long-term use can alter a user’s ability to live a healthy life.
Unlike some other illicit drugs, meth doesn’t require a long “breaking in” period.
First-time users typically experience an intense pleasure rush. They come back the next time expecting that same ecstatic feeling only to realize they need more of the drug each time they use. The increasing need for more of the drug to get the same initial effect is what makes meth so addictive.
Long-term use hammers away at the user’s brain and cognitive abilities. It also destroys their appearance and their emotional well-being.
When someone first uses meth, it releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is one of the brain chemicals associated with the experience of pleasure. Long-term use depletes dopamine stores in the brain and also destroys dopamine receptors.
Using meth changes brain chemistry and destroys the area of the brain responsible for pleasure. The drug becomes the body’s traitor and, in some users, the ability to experience any pleasure is destroyed.
Damage to the brain caused by meth can also be permanent.
Some users experience long-term issues including a decline in reasoning, problems with judgment, and a decrease in motor coordination. If that’s not bad enough, meth users exhibit violent behavior caused by an increase in adrenaline.
The fight-or-flight reaction to adrenaline may cause extreme anxiety. Some users are also pushed into a hyper-alert state, which can lead to obsessive and disturbing behaviors and psychological issues.
If the damage to your brain isn’t bad enough, consider your heart.
Meth is a stimulant. Stimulants make the heart race and the blood vessels constrict. These two activities can result in heart attacks and strokes.
Cardiac symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and inflammation of blood vessels close to the brain and in the lining of the heart have doctors concerned about long-term damage caused by meth use.
People who use stimulants, including meth, are at an increased risk for hemorrhagic strokes, which happen as a result of broken blood vessels in the brain. Unfortunately, heart damage and damage to the blood vessels may be permanent even if a meth user is able to stop using.
Meth users pay the price of their addiction physically with damage to the brain and cardiac system.
Damage to teeth from using meth doesn’t only happen in long-term users, but the longer you use, the more damage you cause to your teeth and gums.
It’s common for meth users to have a mouthful of stained and decaying teeth.
Dentists believe that this substantial tooth decay is caused by a combination of drug-induced changes including dry mouth, poor diet, and horrible dental hygiene. Dentists try to treat the resulting cavities and gum disease, but often the damage is so bad that teeth must be extracted.
Meth users also grind their teeth often, which explains the high incidence of cracked and broken teeth.
Long-term meth use wreaks havoc on your teeth, but your skin and hair also take a serious beating.
Skin and Hair
Meth use typically adds several years to a user’s appearance.
Meth destroys tissues and blood vessels, creating an environment where the body has a hard time healing itself. The skin pays the price by becoming dry and dull. Users may also develop acne.
Heavy use makes some users feel like they have bugs crawling under their skin. They react by constantly scratching and picking at their skin in an attempt to get rid of the bugs. Most heavy meth users have sores and scars caused by the constant scratching and also tend to lose hair for the same reason.
Meth use causes sporadic eating patterns resulting in extreme weight loss. Meth users rarely look healthy. Instead, they have a frail and haunted appearance.
Meth Steals Your Social Life
The first thing most people associate with meth use is the high financial cost and negative health effects. Yet associated social issues are just as costly and painful.
People who use meth are often judged not only by society but by their own family and friends. Users fall victim to one of the many myths about addiction. Once labeled, it’s difficult to repair a ruined reputation. As wrong as it is, most users will encounter people who believe that those who abuse drugs are bad people who should get what they deserve.
It’s not difficult to understand why some people may feel this way. After all, addicts often hurt the people who care most about them, and it’s not easy to get over being hurt in this way.
Reputations can be restored and so can relationships, but change takes time and perseverance.
Involvement in Criminal Activity
Meth users don’t always turn to crime. However, because meth can cause a person to use poor judgment, users often find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
When a person is high on meth, they may commit both petty and violent crimes.
By the time a user is involved in the criminal justice system, they’ve likely alienated at least a few people. One of the most unfortunate costs of meth use is the loss of social support at a time when it’s needed the most.
Risky Sexual Behavior
One effect of meth is increased libido. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong or abnormal about feeling sexual desire, meth users sometimes engage in risky sexual behavior due to this dramatic increase in libido.
Users often aren’t careful about who they have sex with, and expose themselves to people who are capable of causing them physical harm.
When considering the cost of crystal meth, you have to consider contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including Hepatitis B & C, as well as HIV.
Problems at Work
When asking the question, “how much does meth cost?,” it is important to look at how meth use affects the user at work.
Meth users have more issues with absenteeism than employees who are not users. Excessive absenteeism usually ends up in termination, putting users in a cycle of frequent job changes. This isn’t just an issue for the user.
Employers feel the high cost of meth through absenteeism, workmen’s compensation claims, and high rates of employee turnover.
Addiction in general spills over into the user’s job life, often resulting in poor morale, job instability, and a negative impact on safety for both the user and fellow workers.
Family Dynamics Suffer
Having an addict in the family is never an easy situation to navigate. Most families feel embarrassed to let others know their family has a problem. It’s never easy to admit a family is broken.
Consider the financial cost of meth to the user and it’s no shock when families become the user’s victim. By the time a user is addicted, they’ve likely lost or at least decreased their source of income. Many users steal from friends and family.
Even if you don’t steal from your family, your meth use still affects the way you relate to them. Meth often causes irrational and sometimes violent behavior. Maybe you’ve physically harmed someone you love or destroyed their personal property. Meth users are not always pleasant to be around, so it’s not unusual for the family to avoid interacting with them when they are using.
The family bears the burden of being broken by addiction.
The Next Generation
If you have children, you’re at risk of passing your addiction down to them.
Most loving parents would never wish it upon their children to experience drug addiction, but children of addicts are at a higher risk of becoming addicts themselves.
Science hasn’t located a specific “addiction gene”, but there are genes that make certain drugs cause intense pleasure, making it harder to quit using drugs and making withdrawal much more unpleasant. These genes can be passed on to future generations.
What children see as normal behavior is powerful as well. If your kids witness you using meth (or any other drug), over time they will perceive using as normal. It takes either you getting help or the child getting out of the environment to allow them to learn that using drugs isn’t normal.
You have the power to break the cycle by taking charge and beginning treatment.
It’s a Disease
Despite the heavy toll meth takes on multiple areas of user’s lives, it’s important to understand that meth addiction is a disease, not simply bad behavior.
Yes, you’ve likely behaved badly and hurt those you love. But consider this: if a friend is diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, do you condemn them and tell them they’re a horrible person? Of course not! Hopefully, you reassure them and encourage them to take care of their health.
Addiction should be viewed just like other diseases. You find help, accept it, and work on getting well.
Are you tired of paying the cost of methamphetamines? If you’re ready to take back your life, let Addiction Treatment Services help. Contact an intervention specialist today!