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Why is the drug ICE so popular?

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βˆ™ 2010-08-11 16:45:51

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Ice is a slang term for methamphetamine. Ice is a very pure form of meth containing large amounts of dextromethamphetamine and very little levomethamphetamine. Dextromethamphetamine (d-methamphetamine) is responsible for euphoria and other addictive properties of meth. Levomethamphetamine (l-methamphetamine) has no psychotropic properties, instead it acts only as a vasoconstrictor and is used in over the counter decongestants. Most meth is a racemic mixture of both d- and l-amphetamine.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive because of dopamine. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical. Anything enjoyable causes dopamine to be released. It is been shown that playing Video Games, gambling, sex, and eating all increase dopamine. Not only does dopamine produce a high, it is a reinforcing chemical. Thus experiences where large amounts of dopamine is released are reinforced and people will likely continue to do those activities.

The human brain is naturally able to produce up to 100 units of dopamine. This spike in dopamine only occurs during sex. Most scientists agree that the need to propagate the species (humans) is why so much dopamine is produced during sex, to ensure that humanity will continue. Methamphetamine is able to produce a staggering 1,200 units of dopamine. No other drug can produce nearly as much dopamine. Cocaine for example produces about 200 units.

As a result of the extreme increase in dopamine as well as an increase of serotonin and norepinephrine, other "feel good" chemicals the brain begins to change. The receptors for the neurotransmitters become downregulated (less sensitive) and more drug is required to obtain a euphoria. Meth is a neurotoxin and long term use is likely to cause brain damage because dopamine cells will literally burn up. In some extreme cases people can develop anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure after using meth on a chronic, long term basis.

Further, one might mention that, when compared to the manufacture of many other drugs, "Ice" is easily manufactured from readily available precursors.

2010-08-11 16:45:51
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