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Breaking Bad and the global meth trade: Five facts to drop at your next dinner party | The World

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1. North America dominates the world of methamphetamine. And those Mexican cartels are indeed hard at work.

According to the UN Office of Drug Control’s 2013 World Drug Report, North America accounted for 54 of the 88 tons of methamphetamine seized worldwide in 2011, the latest figures available. Leading the pack in North America was Mexico, where the cartels have turned mass producing crystal meth into a fine art.

2. Like Walter White, the big manufacturers of crystal meth stopped using cold medicines as a pre-cursor a long time ago and law enforcement are onto them.

3. Asia has long had a methamphetamine pill problem. But it is now getting a crystal meth problem…

4. West Africa is getting into the methamphetamine production game and shipping its product east to Asia and to Europe as well…

5. Saudi Arabia was responsible for more than a third of the amphetamine seizures in the world in 2011…

So unlike in Breaking Bad where pretty much the entire Heisenberg line ends, world meth use is rising.


It is a terrible, terrible drug.


Methamphetamine (METH) is an illicit psychostimulant that is widely abused in the world. Several lines of evidence suggest that chronic METH abuse leads to neurodegenerative changes in the human brain. These include damage to dopamine and serotonin axons, loss of gray matter accompanied by hypertrophy of the white matter and microgliosis in different brain areas. In the present review, we summarize data on the animal models of METH neurotoxicity which include degeneration of monoaminergic terminals and neuronal apoptosis. In addition, we discuss molecular and cellular bases of METH-induced neuropathologies. The accumulated evidence indicates that multiple events, including oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, hyperthermia, neuroinflammatory responses, mitochondrial dysfunction, endoplasmic reticulum stress converge to mediate METH-induced terminal degeneration and neuronal apoptosis. When taken together, these findings suggest that pharmacological strategies geared towards the prevention and treatment of the deleterious effects of this drug will need to attack the various pathways that form the substrates of METH toxicity.

"Mitochondrial dysfunction" sounds particularly bad, like something The Incredible Hulk might experience.

So basically, meth rewires the brain in very bad ways?

It causes parts of the brain to degenerate.

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