NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Get damaged brains off the street

Jeff Ackerman, Union’s Publisher, "Meth devours our small-town life," August 2, 2005

Jeff, is on a campaign, worth your time to support. We all have a vested interest in finding a solution.
There are no pharmacological treatments for meth dependence. The most effective treatment, according to experts, is "cognitive behavioral interventions, which modify a patient's thinking, expectations and behavior." You don't do that in 90 days, which is pretty much the standard Prop. 36 treatment plan.
I understand that meth shrinks the brain. How do you get the cognitive attention of a damaged brain, a brain this is now wired to want more meth. Lock them up, and keep them there.

UPDATE: From the 23 July 2005 New Scientist:
Brain damage
Abusing amphetamines is risky. The drugs can be highly addictive, and Volkow's research and that of other groups has consistently shown that addicts can suffer brain damage that may be irreversible. In one study from 2001, Volkow imaged the brains of abstinent amphetamine addicts and control subjects using positron emission tomography. The scans showed that addicts' brains had fewer dopamine transporter proteins in regions linked to positive emotions and planning. They were also worse at memorising lists of words and did poorly on motor tests. In a follow-up study nine months later, Volkow found significant recovery in the brains of addicts who had remained abstinent, although there was no improvement in memory and motor tests (The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 21, p 9414).
We need to lock these people up until their brains recover. It is more than 90 day!

UPDATE: More on Volkow's research of meth user brains:
Levels of dopamine transporters in the former drug abusers—even those who had been clean for almost a year—were more than 20 per cent lower than normal in two key areas of the brain involved in movement, concentration and motivation. This reduction mimics the effects of ageing: levels of dopamine transporters naturally fall by between 5 and 6 per cent each decade, causing people to slow down and impairing their movement and memory. "What we see is the equivalent of 40 to 50 years' ageing in the brains of these people—that's a huge amount," says Volkow.
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