Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Smile! You're Not Using Meth!

There are so many reasons not to use meth -- addiction, inability to function in society, crime, death -- but here's one that would turn any right-thinking person away from this drug.
Officials: 'Meth mouth' plagues many prisoners

By Mark Brunswick, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

After more than a decade of drug abuse, Darren Zigas is now facing what could be seen as the expected consequences of his methamphetamine addiction: prison time, alienation from friends and family, and a rap sheet filled with convictions for assault, terroristic threats and burglary.

But, at 32 years old, he's also facing another consequence: a lifetime without a tooth in his mouth.

As the number of regular users of the illegal drug methamphetamine has increased, so has a peculiar set of dental problems linked to the drug, a phenomenon appropriately named "meth mouth." Symptoms include gum disease, broken and cracked teeth, and tooth decay.

Zigas' condition was so bad that he once bit into a peanut butter sandwich and teeth were left in the bread. In June 2002, malnourished and down to 150 pounds, he had the rest of his remaining teeth pulled.

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