Phoenix Beck, a young woman in recovery, talks about her experience in the short video Why Girls Take Meth (the video doesn’t quite fit its frame, scroll down a bit to see the play button). A good point she makes is that while she was using the drug others treated her as “disgusting” and “shameful” but when she quit everyone was supportive and helpful. She says that if they’d been supportive and tried to get her help while she was using then she mightn’t have felt so depressed, which kept her going back to do more drugs, and instead might have sought recovery earlier.

So why did she take meth? Phoenix had low self-esteem and was bullied, and started hanging out with drug users for a sense of community. Within two weeks she was addicted. Researcher Marie Hoskins of the University of Victoria points to peer pressure, and using it for quick weight loss.

This video doesn’t go into it but crystal meth psychosis is severe, resembling schizophrenia or bipolar psychosis, and users can often become violent while psychotic. It may also trigger ongoing episodes of psychosis that happen even when not using the drug. The comprehensive article Crystal Meth Produces Schizophrenia-like Symptoms quotes some research:

A 2001 publication by the WHO [World Health Organization], “Systematic Review of Treatment for Amphetamine-Related Disorders”, found that five to 15 percent of meth users who develop a related psychosis fail to recover completely. Most users, the organization also reports, become psychotic within a week after continuous meth administration.

It’s also one of the most damaging drugs to the brain: check out the very cool animated Mouse Party to see neurological effects of meth and some other commonly abused drugs. I also recommend the acclaimed Montana Meth Project research-based ads that show horrifying, but real, consequences.

So why do girls do meth? Peer pressure is hard to resist, and teens are impulsive. But maybe some smart young women can teach their peers to impulsively avoid meth instead.