While our blogs mainly focus on drug testing and the safety implications of people going to work and driving while on drugs, there is of course plenty of evidence of the harm that drugs can do to people. Now, when it comes to methamphetamines, we can add Parkinson’s disease to the list of potential harms and the South Australian government plans to use pizza boxes as one way to drive home the message.
Methamphetamines and Parkinson’s disease
As explained in a recent ABC News article, the world-first link between methamphetamines and Parkinson’s disease in humans has been discovered right here in Australia, in a University of South Australia study.
While the link is concerning, what’s more alarming is that we’re not talking about long-term or necessarily regular use. The study’s author, University of South Australia Associate Professor Gabrielle Todd, explains in the article that consuming methamphetamines as little as five times could have lasting effects on brain regions that control movement.
“Methamphetamine is a drug that damages particular neurons in the brain, and these neurons are the same set of neurons that are damaged by Parkinson’s disease,” Ms Todd said in the article.
“Methamphetamine is actually so good at damaging these neurons that scientists used to use that drug as an animal model for Parkinson’s. There’s a very clear scientific link between the effects of the drug on those neurons and there’s also a lot of other clinical and epidemiological data to support that link as well.”
Ms Todd added that methamphetamine use has also been shown to impact other areas of the body, including the heart and kidneys, and can increase the risk of stroke.
Don’t Let Meth Take Hold campaign
A new campaign has been rolled out in South Australia to educate people on the dangers of consuming methamphetamines. Called Don’t Let Meth Take Hold, it draws on the research of Gabrielle Todd and her University of South Australia study.
The hard-hitting, evidence-based campaign will be rolled out across multiple digital platforms aiming to educate the public on the drug’s dangers and reduce use. As well as more traditional education, the campaign includes an innovative idea to get information out to the public, by printing ads on pizza boxes!
Wastewater drug testing in South Australia
As highlighted in a recent Integrity Sampling post, regional South Australia currently ranks first in the country for methylamphetamine consumption, while the metropolitan area of South Australia ranks second highest across the country.
The rankings come from the latest National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program results, which involves drug testing wastewater at sites across Australia.
What these results says – and it’s backed up by roadside and workplace drug testing carried out in South Australia – is that we should be concerned about methamphetamines. And users should definitely be concerned about what methamphetamine use is doing to their health.
Don’t let meth take hold is the message, as a link between methamphetamines use and Parkinson’s Disease is discovered in South Australia. Credit Find Rehab Centers https://www.flickr.com/photos/findrehabcenters/41626348764/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/findrehabcenters/41626348414/sizes/c/