Matt was a young man of 17 that I first meet in my medical clinic in 1996. His mother brought him to me in order to address his drug use. Matt had been smoking, drinking and sniffing glue since junior high. He had then graduated to marijuana and a “little” cocaine in his early high school years. He recently had dropped out of school because he could no longer “make the grade.” His girlfriend turned him on to crystal methamphetamine (ice) within the past two months. The change in his behavior alarmed his mother and thus the visit to my office.
Matt told me that after using ice he was not the same. He thought that his brain had been damaged and wondered if I had any medicine to “fix it.” He promised me he would never use it again, but he did. In fact he started to use it more and more until he lost his job, his girlfriend, and his mother threw him out of the house.
I saw him one other time soon after the above transpired. Something was dramatically different. His short term memory was gone. He would forget what he was talking about in mid-sentence. But what concerned me the most was this penetrating paranoia that permeated his being. He was hyper-vigilant, scanning the waiting room as he paste back and forth like a caged animal. He kept mentioning to me that “people” were out to get him.
I called his mother and together we made every attempt to help Matt. Unfortunately to no avail. Approximately three weeks later his mother called me and informed me that Matt had found a gun and killed himself at the age of 18.
This is a tragic story but not an isolated one. Matt was a real person that learned the devastating consequences of ice use. This is a drug that is highly addictive and highly destructive. It is sweeping across our nation and will be knocking at the door of your city if it hasn’t already. Next time I will describe this drug they call, “Ice.”