One of the most well-known ad campaigns against methamphetamine is called The Faces of Meth. Billboards all over the country show mug shots of people who have just started using the dangerous drugs and then another mug shot after several years of abusing methamphetamine. The public service announcement perfectly illustrates how meth can destroy a person’s body and even manages to pick up on the loneliness and desperation of these individuals.
Recently, scientists began to wonder exactly what about the drug causes such extreme changes in a person’s physical appearance. With financial backing from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers from the University of California Irvine and the Italian Institute of Technology began to conduct experiments on rats that were trained to give themselves methamphetamine.
After much research, the scientists noted that methamphetamine had a direct impact on the body’s cellular structure. The drug, when taken over time, began to influence the cell structure of the body and advanced the aging process of the cells. The phenomenon results in a person looking significantly different after ingesting methamphetamine to the point of addiction. Scientists also noted that the drug increased the amount inflammation on the face, a direct result of the damage done to the body’s cells.
In the past, scientists have conducted autopsies on people who have passed away from methamphetamine overdoses and discovered information that corroborates the above study. People who have died as meth addicts were found to have diseases generally found in older people, such as coronary atherosclerosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that is extremely toxic. Addicts feel a burst of energy, followed by intense euphoria when they consume it, but the negative effects of the drug far outweigh any initial high. Now, it is known that it causes intense damage on a cellular level, quite in addition to the physical appearance and paranoia that accompanies it.