• Cody Nugent

Methamphetamine is still here!

We hear a lot about the opioid addiction issues throughout our county and the country, but many have forgotten about a danger that has affected many in our community for years.....methamphetamine. Methamphetamine (Meth) alone has caused numerous fatal overdoses in Marshall County, but even more than that meth along with opioids have cause at least 6 overdose deaths this year as of June. The Marshall County Coroner's Office continues to close cases where meth is in lethal ranges and some opioids are present. With lethal doses of meth being seen in many of the fatal overdoses in our county, and many more suspected cases pending, we may only guess as to the reason why we have started seeing more and more overdoses from meth.

Though it may be noted, many will say meth the drug itself will not "overdose" an individual. This may be true, however, the effects caused by meth especially long-term abuse will cause strain on many of the vital functions of the body. Also taking into account that many of these overdoses also show opioids in the system as well. Taking meth (upper) and benzodiazepines (downer) along with other opioids may cause a tremendous amount of stress on the heart as it is pulled in two different directions. Though it may only seem like a "little bit" of meth and pills, these cause fatal combinations.

When an individual takes meth their brain releases "feel good" hormones (serotonin and dopamine), when these hormones are depleted and the body is left in a "down state", that is when more of the drug is desired to help return that high. There are two possible reasons why many of the individuals we have seen this year have fatal levels of meth at the time of their death. It may be caused by a "purer" form of meth that is now being used and distributed in our area. It is also possible that the drive to reach a high is met by increasing dosage, until it gets to the point where the body may no longer handle the effects of meth.

Meth and opioid addiction as a whole is something that affects all of us. Whether it has affected your family or not, we all know of someone in our community who has been affected by this drug. Education is key to help people understand that all it takes is ONE TIME for someone to become an addict. While interviewing families that have lost a loved one to addiction we begin to see a pattern in many of these deaths. Most individuals start out with prescription pills as teenagers and young adults, they may then move to heroin, and then to much stronger drugs such as meth.

Families tell our investigators stories where people have attempted to quit on their own and have fallen back into the same situation. Addiction is to strong for someone to overcome on their own they must seek help. Being a positive influence and helping nudge someone in the right direction is the most any of us can do to help someone who is addicted. There are numerous resources available to help addicts overcome their addiction. Whether you feel as though the addict "brought this on himself/herself" or not, we have to come together as a community to stop this from causing more and more deaths in our area.

The Marshall County Coroner's Office hopes to educate people on the fatal overdoses in our community. Our investigators will continue to interview and gather as much information as we can so that we may in return release that information to our community so we can help save lives and stop the drug abuse overdose deaths.

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