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A helper for work, but a killer for life

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Posted By Dr. Blanche

Get to know the story of my patient Carmen, who was addicted to methamphetamines.

Carmen checked in to rehab after a wound on her face became infected and septic and almost killed her. The wound was caused by picking at her skin under the influence of methamphetamines. Carmen had several visible wounds and scabs on her face and neck in various stages of healing when she entered treatment. Picking at the skin of the face and arms is a common symptom of meth use. Meth is a stimulant, and gives users energy and decreased the need to sleep. It can also cause paranoia and itchiness of the skin.

Carmen was a truck driver and had tried many different stimulants to keep her awake and entertained during long drives. She had started with coffee and then moved to energy drinks and caffeine pills. Then she tried prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin that she bought off other truck drivers at rest stops. Eventually, she tried cocaine, which she said she liked the most, but it was too expensive of a habit. Finally, she landed on meth, which gave her the alertness and energy rush she craved while driving at a more affordable price.

Carmen said meth and other stimulant abuse was rampant among the truck driver community. It was a tedious job with little mental stimulation and long hours. Truck drivers often turned to stimulants, both legal and illegal, and the truck driver community often worked together to score and share drugs at rest stops. Please, note that this doesn’t mean all truck drivers are drug addicts, but stimulant abuse is a problem for some within that community. 

During treatment, Carmen decided that returning to truck driving is not the best option for her recovery. She went back to school to find a new career path and has ceased contact with her old truck driving friends she used to do drugs with. 

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