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April 9, 2013

A sheriff’s deputy from Oregon compiled mugshots from methamphetamine users to create a database called “The Faces of Meth” to show citizens the dangers of using the drug. Pictured above left is a man after his first drug arrest. Above right is the same man after using meth. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott

Editor’s note: The following is the fifth of a multi-part series on met amphetamine.

COLUMBIA CITY — Addiction. It can mean different things for different people.

For a cigarette smoker, it can mean a dependence to nicotine. For some, its a craving for sweets. Others may submerse their lives in alcohol.

Whitley County Drug Task Force Detective Bill Brice says that for methamphetamine users, it’s more than an addiction — it’s a lifestyle.

Officials say meth is more addictive than crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin or LCD.

“Smoking marijuana is typically more of a weekend drug. Cocaine is usually something that users only do at parties,” Brice said. “But with meth, it’s not a party drug anymore. People are looking for that next fix.”

Many people who have tried the drug say that they became addicted after the first high.

“The high is very powerful,” Brice said. “They just have to have it.”

When a person uses meth, the brain signals the body’s “pleasure center” to release all of its endorphins at once.

Endorphins, the “feel good” chemical of the body, can be triggered by a multitude of things, such as a mother holding her child, a young boy getting a bite of his favorite candy or an athlete hitting the game-winning shot.

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