The Meth Scene and Muslims: An Introduction

There is always something we can do, even if it is just raising awareness.

There is always something we can do, even if it is just raising awareness.

Some of us aren’t as entertained by shows like “Breaking Bad” as everyone else. Because for some of us it hits a little too close to home. We’ve been too affected by the real outcomes of street drugs like Meth (methamphetamines or “crystal meth”) and loved ones “using”. And there’s nothing cool or entertaining about it. 

A lot of Muslims probably think this is some kind of problem that only exists in the hood. They used to be right for the most part. Until the last decade or so when the meth epidemic spread like wildfire and started hitting places like the suburbs of California.

Walk the streets with me for a day and you will see people living in tents. You may think it’s just a result of the economy’s direct effect on the growing rates of homelessness but that is not the only reason.

So often we find young men and women out in the street because that is where the Meth has taken them and is readily available. That’s where their new “community” is that enables them to keep using and doesn’t “judge” them.

And as someone who has served and been through many of these homeless communities I can tell you from experience that there are more Muslims than you think living out in the street and suffering from the same drug addictions as everyone else in this society. And I can assure you a growing number of our people and families are getting hit by this epidemic and fast.

If you’ve never spent time searching through the streets for a loved one. Or had someone close steal from you out of desperation, or seen them physically fall apart until they are almost unrecognizable – then I am happy for you and hope you never have to experience it.

And I’m not posing solutions right now in this article because we have professionals for that. But what we don’t have is enough awareness in our mosques and communities.

We need awareness about how easy it is to get a hold of these drugs or even take them without knowing it. Some people think weed is harmless but don’t realize batches are coming laced (combined with harder drugs) and are hooking or even killing their users. Or they take Meth not realizing you can get hooked for life off one just one use. 

An all-time “high”: The drug use epidemic in the Muslim community

So if it’s so horrible (and Haraam) why do Muslims use it? First off, Meth specifically is cheap, effective and powerful in the sense that it makes people feel really good temporarily.

And people turn to harder drugs for a variety of reasons. Some for the good old fashioned recreational use (partying or trying to have a good time, peer pressure, etc.) Others have transitioned to it from strong pharmaceuticals they were previously prescribed that unfortunately caused them addictive cravings that make them feel like they are dying unless the craving is satisfied.

And the last group I will mention are basically using drugs in order to get relief from their ongoing mental health issues. Sometimes it’s just an escape for people. Each of these categories can get its own article if time and interest permits.

One of our beloved community members, one who became fluent in Arabic, an active mosque volunteer, and an amazing Qur’an reciter overdosed on Meth this past Ramadan. Only by Allah’s Mercy were able to survive and have their life saved in the hospital.

They started “using” little by little due to untreated depression and anxiety and became hooked before they knew it. I have been helping them with detoxing since and it is rough to say the least. 

But for now, if you think someone you know is in danger of falling into this trap or maybe already has, don’t ignore the problem. Warning signs include change in physical appearance, hygiene issues (including dental), loss of appetite and sleep, mood changes, disappearing at times without proper explanations, grogginess, etc.

And don’t be afraid to call them out and be wrong. If you’re wrong then apologize and go back to watching Breaking Bad or whatever you’re into.

If you’re right there are many resources for professional help that you can reach out to and start with a call to your doctor’s office if you don’t know where to begin. There is always something we can do, even if it is just raising awareness.