Why Crystal Meth is known as the 'ugly drug.'
Published Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:03AM PDT
There is nothing pretty about crystal meth in terms of how it makes an addict look and and feel.
No-one knows that better than Jaspaul Seehra, who works at a dental office on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In that role, he has become highly familiar to "meth mouth."
"The teeth rot out to the point that little stubs are left,''he said.
Seehra says that's because the ingredients in meth are utterly destructive to teeth.
They include materials like ammonia, lead, and battery acid, contaminants that tend to stick around.
"They cause a much, much greater affect on destruction of the teeth, the tissue in the mouth than crack cocaine does,''he said.
By the time he sees a user, often little can be done to salvage their rotting teeth.
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"So these people end up at very early ages losing all their teeth and being in dentures."
But meth can take much more than an addict's teeth.
Recently, emergency room workers at Vancouver General Hospital had to shackle a patient to a bed to prevent her from hurting herself or someone else.
Dr. Bruce Campana, of Vancouver General Hospital, frequently sees how meth ravages the people that use it.
"It makes you awful. You get covered in sores. Many of the intravenous users will have huge abcesses, draining pus,'' he said.
Joey Niessn, a meth addict from Abbotsford, B.C., said crystal meth is the worst drug of all. "It's really, really hard on your body,'' he said.
It can also be fatal
"Sometimes that rush, that adrenalin rush that you get with meth will actually cause your heart to stop and you'll have a full cardiac arrest and you'll drop dead on the spot,'' said Dr. Campana.
Even first time users, like the woman captured on a CTV video, can wind up dead.
"They brought her in here. She was dead. There was nothing we could do at that point. It destroys the myth that using it once is safe,'' Campana said.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro.