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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


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Saturday, April 18, 2009





- 1 out of every 10 people in North Georgia uses meth.
- 50% first-time meth users will become instantly addicted.
- 90% second-time meth users will become instantly addicted.
- 75-80% of Fannin-Copper Basin law and court cases involve meth.*
- 78% of Fannin-Copper Basin DFCS cases involve meth.*
- Reported meth user age range is now between 9 and 76 years old.
- Some Fannin-Copper Basin babies are being born addicted to meth.
- Every pound of meth "cooked" = 5-6 pounds of toxic waste.
- It costs $5,000 - $150,000 of your tax dollars to clean up a meth lab.
- Chemicals from dump sites contaminate water supplies, kill livestock, destroy national forest lands, and render areas uninhabitable.
- When given the choice between going to drug court and keeping their children, or going to jail and losing them, METH ADDICTS ARE CHOOSING JAIL.
- Fannin County is #1 of all Georgia counties for having the highest number of children removed from their homes and placed in foster care, group homes, or adoption BECAUSE OF METH.*
- 38% (21 children) of Fannin County's children who have been taken from their homes have had to be placed in OTHER county group homes because we don't have enough foster or adoptive parents in Fannin to care for these children.*
- 174 meth labs seized in Georgia in 2004
- Georgia meth arrests increased 132% from 2001-2005
- Georgia meth prison admissions increased 96% from 2001-2005
- More than 12.3 Million Americans age 12 and older have tried meth at least once

*Statistics fluctuate week-to-week.
**Statistics from the Georgia Statistical Analysis Center/Agency of Criminal Justice Coordinating Council



Methamphetamine is a synthetic (manufactured as opposed to being produced naturally) drug that can be "cooked" in home labs or easily purchased. Meth is made out of ingredients such as:


Battery acid

Coleman fuel

Red Devil Lye

Hydrochloric acid

Anhydrous ammonia

Toluene (sulphuric acid)

Muriatic acid (brick cleaner)

Drain cleaner (sulphuric acid)

Acetone (fingernail polish remover)

Red phosphorus (match strike pads)

Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive drug that causes significant brain damage. Meth is much more toxic to brain cells than cocaine. It is a potent central nervous system stimulant. Meth use kills brain cells and they never regenerate.

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally, however, the most frequent method of use is smoking. In addition to being addicted to methamphetamine, users who inject the drug become even more addicted to the needles they use. In large doses, unlike cocaine, meth metabolizes slowly in the body. Up to three days (72 hours) are required to eliminate a single dose.

The "high" it produces is the result of a surge of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, the chemical that communicates a message from one brain cell to another. A normal brain creates 16 units of dopamine. A meth-user's brain creates 10 times that normal dose. The meth "high" can last for days, causing extreme mood swings, decreased or no appetite, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, incessant talking, jerky or hyper movements, irritability, extreme nervousness, hypothermia, and convulsions.

This is what meth does to a person. You age. You have scabs and scars from
digging at the imaginary bugs on your skin. Your teeth decay and fall out. You
like the hell you're living in.


Meth causes accelerated heart-rate, elevated blood pressure, and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain. Meth residue leaves actual pieces of glass in the brain that cause tearing and leave holes in the brain. It also causes respiratory disorders, dizziness, tooth grinding, impaired speech, dry and itchy skin, acne, skin sores (also known as "crank bugs"), numbness, and sweating.

Meth takes away the central brain's ability to control other parts of the brain that used to be connected to it. That means that a meth user no longer has control over their moods and emotions. The ability to feel joy is no longer there. You have personality changes, you are paranoid, you are irritable and grouchy. You can't eat or sleep. You have panic attacks that go on for days. Cravings control your life. You have twitches and tremors and muscle spasms that in some documented cases, NEVER GO AWAY.

And when the "high" wears off and you begin to "crash", it is intensely painful and lasts a lot longer than the high. The only thing that relieves the anguish of the crash is another high.


Because of various production methods, varying degrees of skill of the lab operator, and different chemicals used to manufacture meth, the finished product varies in color and texture. Pure methamphetamine is most commonly a shade of tan or white. Crystal meth, most commonly called glass or ice because of its appearance, is a colorless, odorless, large-crystal form of d-methamphetamine. Ice is most often produced by slowly re-crystallizing powder meth from a solvent such as methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, or acetone. Ice typically is smoked, using tin foil, empty soda bottles, or light bulbs which are heated to produce the smoke that is inhaled from the crystals.


Meth is sold in "baggies", "eightballs", and "teeners". Reports also indicate that young girls and women are trading their bodies for meth.
"Baggie" 1/4 gram $20-$25

2 gram $40-$50

1 gram

"Teener" 1/16 oz. $80-$100
"Eightball" 1/8 oz. $225-$350

2 oz. $500-600



ICE, GLASS, CRYSTAL, speed, lith,crank, chalk, meth, fire, batu, crypto, quartz, trash, wash, spackle

Cook, chef, or chemist :

a person who manufactures meth

Craters :

the skin sores on meth users

The "High":

tweeked, wired, cranked, fried, lit, ripped, speeding

Usage :

slamming (injecting)

hot railing (inhaling heated meth from a glass table)

Tools for injecting meth :

syringes, spoons, lighters, bandanas, belts or surgical tubing used to constrict the vein

Tools for smoking meth :

mini torch lighters, ink pen casing, glass pipes, pop cans, light bulbs, mini glass vases, rolled up dollar bills, pipes, pieces of glass/mirrors


Doctors, lawyers, grandmas, middle-school kids, soccer moms, truck drivers, college students, cashiers, grandpas, homecoming queens, business dads, football players, church members, straight-A high school students,...shy, outgoing, rich, poor, successful, down-and-out, white, black, yellow, red...Meth doesn't care who you are, where you live, how old or young, who your parents are, who or what you know. If you're rich, you'll just buy more dope. If you're poor, you'll steal to buy that next hit. Meth users have one thing in common: they're all people who are hurting, for one reason or another, and are looking for something to make the pain go away.



For families dealing with a loved one addicted to meth, please visit Prisoners of Meth. You'll find information about the book "Prisoners of Meth" by Jesse Hambrick, of the Douglas County, GA sheriff's office. Jesse is one of the country's leading authorities on the use and production of meth, and has worked with countless community leaders to stop the spread of meth.


CoryTraumaRN posted today at 12:02 AM

Wow...Cory this a great story on METH. Awesome!!!
Cory, What a wonderful article it illustrates the stark reality relating to the impact Meth Addiction has on the entire community. Well done and thank you for posting.
Although I would love to take credit for writing this story, I just gathered photos and put it together with the story I found already written on the Meth is Death site (source posted) but felt it was important enough to repost! Especially when I see what rolls through the ER doors!
Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.
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