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February 28, 2016
by Henry M. Pittman, MA

Drugs and Domestic Violence

February 28, 2016 15:30 by Henry M. Pittman, MA  [About the Author]

Drug abuse has haunted society for years. From dealing with alcohol to cocaine, from marijuana to LSD, the war on drugs continues. A drug that is becoming more and more popular is methamphetamine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2013) methamphetamine use cost @23.4 billion dollars in 2005. Family, friends, love ones, and society has been impacted by use of meth. There is a high correlation between domestic abuse and substance use. No one is sheltered from the substance. Celebrities are not sheltered either as recently child star Orlando Brown from ‘That’s So Raven” was arrested for many charges including possession of meth along with domestic violence.

In the news…

On January 17, 2016 police received a phone call from an eye witness who observed Orlando Brown hitting a female. The female is his fiancée. The police arrived on the screen. Orlando Brown refuses to get out the car, charged with obstruction of justice. After police gets him out the car, takes him to be booked, they found meth on, charged with two felonies. Felony #1 – possession with intent to sell and Felony #2 – possession of contraband while in jail (Pruitt, 2016).

What is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It is an man-made drug (nothing in it is natural) that also goes by the street names Crank, Chalk, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go Fast, Ice, Meth, and Speed (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016).  Methamphetamine is an illegal stimulant or upper that is in the same category as amphetamine. Amphetamines are legal stimulants or uppers that are used for medical purposes. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized Amphetamine/Methamphetamine as a Schedule II Drug.  Schedule II drugs have some medical properties in which refills are not given. Amphetamines that are used medically are Adderall or Ritalin that are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) or just Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). At this time there is no medical use Methamphetamines.

How is Meth Used?

The route of admission or method of a drug entering into the body varies based on individual’s preference regarding the intensity of the high. Methamphetamines can be smoked, snorted, injected use, or orally ingested (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013).  The most intense “high” comes from a person smoking on injecting the substance because it quickly enters the bloodstream which goes straight into the brain. It is in the brain that methamphetamine triggers the brain to produce more of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is this neurotransmitter that gives a person the “high” or ”flash.” A person may start off occasionally using, to using more, to the point of receiving negative consequences behind their use, to continue use despite negative consequence. At that point, it is called an addiction.

Short & Long Term Effects of Meth Use

When a person begins using any kind of substance there are short and long term effects on that person’s health and methamphetamine is no different. The short term effects of methamphetamine use consists of “increased attention, decrease fatigue, increased activity, increased wakefulness, decreased appetite, euphoria or rush, increase respiration, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and hyperthermia (NIDA, 2013, p2.)” These short term effects can quickly be resolve by the individual reframing from methamphetamine use. If an individual choses to continue use, these short term effects will increase to more complex long term effects.

Long term effects of methamphetamine use was “addiction, psychosis which may include paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive motor activity, changes in the brain structure and function, deficits in thinking and motor skills, increase distractibility, memory loss, aggressive or violet behavior, mood disturbances, sever dental problems, and weight loss (NIDA, 2013, p2.)” At this point, the body has been negatively impacted by the use of methamphetamine and long term care is needed to reverse some of these long term effects.

Meth & Domestic Violence

Domestic violence within itself is a grave entity that negatively affects society as a whole and not just the family. When the addition of substance use is involved it makes the grave matter even work. When it comes to methamphetamine use, a person using is likely to experience impulsiveness, derangement, and rage (Meth Project, 2016). The ability to control inhibitions (impulsiveness) is slim next to none because methamphetamine alters brain function which normally a person would react, now they would. Derangement is when the “flight/fight” mode kicks in and a meth user perceives everyone as a potential threat. Rage is very common due to derangement and high impulsivity, that a meth user because physically aggressive.  Add all of this up together, the severity of domestic violence is heavily increased.


Methamphetamine use is a destructive pattern of behavior that destroys individuals, families, and communities. Substance use increases the likely hood of domestic violence based on the negative effects of the drug. Methamphetamine use high jacks the brain ability to regulate impulsiveness and increase the likely hood unmanageable anger and aggression. The national hotline for domestic abuse is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and national hotline for addiction is 1 -800-662-HELP (4357).


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Commonly Abuse Drugs.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Methamphetamine. NIDA Research Report Series.

The Method Project. Meth. Retrieved from

Pruitt, S.L. (2016) ‘That’s So Raven’ Star’ Orlando Brown Arrested for Meth Possession, Beating his Girlfriend. Retrieved from February 28, 2016

About the Author

Henry M. Pittman Henry M. Pittman, MA

Henry M. Pittman came into the field of counseling through substance use disorders in the fall of 1997. He was a substance abuse tech at a hospital in Houston, TX and what he saw motivated him to take all the counseling hours needed to become a substance abuse counselor in 1998. Since then he has pursed the required education and knowledge to become a master level counselor and therapist.

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