Studies Show Women Using Crystal Meth for Weight Loss

By Paul Gaita 03/04/14

A solid minority of women abusers, particularly in Australia, have reported initially taking meth in order to lose weight, only to fall victim to its addictive properties.

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Stories about methamphetamine and crystal meth in the media abound about its highly addictive properties as well as the devastating physical and mental toll endured by users. But what is not frequently reported is the fact that methamphetamine was prescribed for decades as a drug to combat obesity - and remains legally available for that condition, as well as ADHD, under the brand name Desoyxn - among other health issues.

Studies conducted during the last five years have concluded that crystal meth has undergone a resurgence in recent years by women who are using the drug to lose weight. A 2011 report from the Burnet Institute of Medical Research in Australia notes that 30 percent of female meth addicts stated that weight loss or maintenance was the primary reason for their first use of the drug. Global figures for crystal meth use show 24.7 million individuals abusing the drug worldwide, with Australia reporting exceptionally high numbers. A study in the Medical Journal of Australia showed that 2.5 percent of its citizens aged 13 years or older have tried the drug. Statistics for users in this age group in both the United States and United Kingdom are significantly lower.

Unfortunately, crystal meth’s effect upon weight loss is essentially a falsehood. The period of lost appetite, starvation, and weight loss that is initially incurred after using the drug prompts the user’s body to store fat in an act of self-preservation to prepare for another round of deprivation. Upon achieving their weight loss “goal,” users will frequently quit crystal meth, only to discover that the weight quickly returns as the body attempts to rebuild itself. As a result, first time and casual users soon return to the drug to maintain the weight loss, only to fall victim to its addictive properties and horrendous side effects.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.