Friday, February 17, 2006

A Snow Storm That Will Last A Lifetime

Hardly a day goes by we don’t hear about police shutting down a meth lab somewhere. Good for them. You never know what might be going on behind closed doors. We worry about what manufacturers put in our food, yet drug users seldom think about whom they buy their illicit drugs from and what chemicals go in them. From the processor to the end user, who knows what they’ve been “stepped” with? Over time, some of those fillers may have an impact on one's health elsewhere in the body. That’s not really why I wrote this, but it’s something to think about.

This is a true story of two friends and what happened to them from substance abuse, primarily, drugs that went up their noses. Most users would never think about this, either.

They’d been rolling up paper money and snorting coke for years. We all know what happens when too much alcohol is consumed. It can damage the liver, for one thing. Cirrhosis comes to mind. Once the liver goes, so does the rest of the body. Who would ever think cocaine could have anything to do with harming the liver? It can and this is how.

For those of you who have ever snorted coke, meth, or any other substance, you often do it with "friends." Some, you may have met only minutes earlier. Mostly, these "friends" are not friends at all. They are merely acquaintances and the common thread of drugs is what bonds you. As that rolled up bill gets passed around the room, didn’t you notice how wet the tip became? It’s mucus produced by irritated sinus membranes. With each subsequent snort, you are sucking up each other’s body fluids. Ingesting drugs this way causes vessels to pop, and that throws blood into the mix. The drug, cutting agents, mucus and blood are absorbed into your now exposed veins, and you do this without thinking about the risks. Temporary euphoria conquers a lifetime of consequences. That's what happened to my friends. One day he went to his physician for something unrelated. The doctor decided it was time to do blood work. He was called back in for the results. Of course, she needed to be tested, too. Neither had any real symptoms, but what they both discovered was shocking.

Hepatitis C

HCV is spread primarily by exposure to human blood. As a virus, it can become chronic and may lead to liver failure and sometimes, death. Only in this sense, perhaps, they were lucky. Can HIV/AIDS and other diseases be spread this way?

We don't like to think about bad things. No one is perfect and we're all guilty of some form of self-abuse. Hopefully, we learn from other people's misfortunes so we don’t have to go through similar fates. This is knowledge we should absorb through our eyes and ears. In this case, it wasn’t knowledge and it went up their noses instead, and they want all concerned to know before they have their livers scared out of them, too.

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