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"American Meth: A History of the Methamphetamine Edpidemic" author Sterling R Braswell:BOOK REVIEW

Sterling Braswell has written a fascinating book on drug use in America. It begins with the history of amphetamines. It has been used for almost 100 years. Methamphetamine was used in the 1920s to treat asthma, hay fever and depression. At that time, it was legal and carried no social stigma. Amphetamines were used in the military because they were believed to enhance intellectual performance and incite aggression.

Hitler was injected with it. Kamikaze pilots were injected with it before going on suicide missions. JFK used it in combination with steroids to treat Addison’s disease. This has been attributed to its contribution to his abnormally high libido. Today, drug addicts come from all walks of life: students, soldiers, workers, housewives.

The damage caused by methamphetamine use is insidious. Dopaminergic nerve endings are damaged to the point of putting people at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as they age. Some damage is permanent and some may last up to three years after use has ended. Methamphetamine use triggers apoptosis which causes widespread cell death in several regions of the brain. The brain is affected similarly to the damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease and strokes. The personality of the aggressor is also affected. They become paranoid, delusional and violent. Braswell calls their reality “Crazy Town”. This becomes the user’s world.

In this book, Braswell also includes his own personal story of the hell he went through while married to Lucille, a drug addict. Lucille was unable to overcome her addiction and as a result of her meth-addicted actions, she nearly destroyed Braswell. As I read her personal story, I continued to hope that their lives would improve and that Lucille would be able to overcome her addictions. Instead, she betrayed him and his family in every way possible.

The history of methamphetamines and other related drugs is covered in depth. “American Meth” would be very useful for addiction counselors and people in recovery. For my masters program in rehabilitation counseling, I had no script that covered the story so deeply.

I think it’s important that people who believe drugs should be legalized read “American Meth.” Crime is not only committed by people trying to get money for a solution, horrible crimes are committed by people under the influence of this drug. Families are destroyed.

American Meth: A History of America’s Meth Epidemic

Sterling R Braswell

iUniverse, Inc. (2006)

ISBN 0595380212

Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/06)

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