While the drug epidemic is focused on opioids like heroin, morphine and all the doctor prescribed pain pills that Americans are getting hooked on, another drug is silently decimating the American white working class. It is crystal meth. This drug, a methamphetamine, was popularized in the hit television show, “Breaking Bad,” but it is anything but glorious. Users report feeling like Superman, but when they’re not high on the potentially deadly and highly addictive drug, they become horrible people willing to do anything for their next high. Crystal meth drives people to prostitution and there have been reports of drug addicts selling their children for measly sums just to get enough cash to buy a few hits of drugs. Although crystal meth is known to have deadly side effects and decimating effects on the human body, users just can’t stop taking it. The drug is taken in all different kinds of ways. Most commonly it is smoked, but it can also be snorted, taken orally, or injected directly into the blood stream. Meth use changes people and as you’ll see in the series of mug shots below, one regular meth user’s descent was documented in photos.
Meth is a deceptive drug. It’s negative side effects can take a while to kick in. If someone uses it just once, they can feel good – or more accurately, like they’re on top of the world. But the second time it is used, the effect is not nearly as strong and they need more of the illegal substance to feel nearly as close to as high as they did the first time. And from there the cycle worsens. Drug addicts need more meth to get the same high and feel good. And the more they need, the more the drug changes them as a person.
One meth addict’s descent into suffering was documented throughout the years. His name is Matthew Medlin. Because he has been doing meth for 14 years, it has changed his life – visibly.
At 18 years old, the young Medlin had a handsome face. His features were chiseled and if he had taken an alternate path, it would have been feasible to see him on the big screen. The picture was taken after his first arrest in 2002.
But just five years later, at the age of 23, Medline was arrested again. By then the premature aging caused by crystal meth use had already started to show. His skin had dulled and sores had started appearing on his nose and forehead.
Just a few years later in 2013, Medlin was arrested again. This time the meth had affected the way he started thinking. He had gotten weird face tattoos on his face because he was influenced by the drug. He had also lost a lot of weight.
He was arrested three times that year and every time he looked worse. In one mug shot he has drawn black lines down his face. Then he escaped prison. Hair had grown to shoulder length and he resembled Johnny Depp.
Yet his descent into meth addiction only got worse as the images show.