Julio Diaz and the Dangers of Meth


True HealthOld age is a time to enjoy life and reap the fruits of your labor, but the golden years have proved disastrous for Julio Diaz. The 59-year-old actor, known for the films Sakay, Bayani, and Takaw Tukso among others, was caught selling illegal drugs in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Diaz, whose real name is Mariano de Leon, and his driver Ronald Gomez, 35, were nabbed in a recent drug bust that left 13 people dead. Police said he was peddling methamphetamine hydrochloride or meth which is called shabu in the country and in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Diaz was among the 58 people arrested during the raid.

Julio Diaz in better times (Photo courtesy of pinoyparazzi.com).

Earlier, it was reported that the movie and TV star was cured of substance abuse with the help of fellow actor and Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando. However, it’s understandable why Diaz returned to his former self.

Highly Addictive

Methamphetamine, which is also known as crank, chalk, crystal, ice, and speed, is a highly addictive drug that’s hard to resist. It can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. Crystal meth is so-called because it looks like glass fragments or shiny rocks.

This popular party drug was originally used by World War II soldiers to stay awake. Meth was also prescribed for weight loss and depression. At present, the drug is used to treat obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but it is rarely used.

When ingested, meth increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. This natural chemical is involved in motivation, arousal, pleasure, and reward. It produces the “rush” or feeling of euphoria that users love. This makes people feel confident and energetic.

If they don’t get their fix, users may experience anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, and intense cravings. This forces them to do anything to experience that rush again.

Crystal meth (Photo courtesy of drugfreeva.org).

Bad Effects

However, the “high” associated with meth is short-lived – the reason why people take repeated doses of the drug. To sustain this feeling, users need meth every few hours for several days. Unfortunately, to get the same effect, they require higher doses of the drug. This produces a lot of bad effects.

Like cocaine and amphetamine, small amounts of meth can increase blood pressure and body temperature that can be fatal. It can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats, decreased appetite, insomnia, and increased physical activity.

Used repeatedly, meth can cause extreme weight loss, damage teeth, intense itching, and psychological problems. Addicts may suffer from anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, and violent behavior.

Strange Behavior

Meth addicts don’t care about their appearance and may age quickly They have strange sleeping patterns, dull skin, a dry mouth, and stained or rotting teeth. Users think insects are crawling under their skin and they may have sores or pimples that don’t heal easily. They may hear or see things that aren’t real and are prone to violent outbursts.

People who inject meth are susceptible to HIV and hepatitis B and C. They are also more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, a nerve disorder that affects movement. With a meth overdose, users may die from stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.

Because there are no approved medications for meth addiction, behavioral therapies are often used for treatment. This teaches patients how to avoid and cope with situations where drug use is present.

Still, the best way to avoid illegal drugs is to stay away from them. After all, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Only by doing so can you avoid a fate worse than death.

National Press Club and Philippine Dental Association awardee George Nava True II is the author of three health books based on his popular medical column that has been running for over 30 years. For inquiries, email george.true@mb.com.ph or text 09331366645.



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