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Posted: 1/10/2005 12:21:52 PM EDT
Meth users can look forward to gumming their food


www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-meth10.html

January 10, 2005

BY MARK BRUNSWICK


MINNEAPOLIS -- 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 named ''meth mouth.'' Symptoms include gum disease, broken and cracked teeth, and tooth decay.

Growing prison problem

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

His dental problem is not only his own now, but the State of Minnesota's as well. In the Lino Lakes prison for a 2002 conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine, Zigas had dentures made for him four months ago by a state dentist.

With the burgeoning use of methamphetamine, a ripple effect has flooded the state's court systems and now its prison population. A quarter of all state inmates now are drug offenders, half of them for methamphetamine.

Incarcerating drug offenders brings with it traditional costs, including rehabilitation and health expenses from years of abuse. But one of the unexpected results of the methamphetamine explosion is the demand for dental care from those behind bars. [just another reason to end drug prohibition - let these dregs rot and die on the streets, hell give them the drugs for free, hasten their demise. -Shaftoe]

And because of the demand for emergency and urgent care from the methamphetamine users, it can now be up to a year's wait for other inmates to get routine dental care from one of the 10 dentists across the state's prison system.

Drug's merciless effects

Authorities say they believe several factors contribute to meth mouth. The drug often produces anxiety levels and paranoia that can contribute to teeth grinding and gnashing. Many abusers also have a dry mouth, and the absence of saliva can exacerbate the acidic nature of methamphetamine if it is smoked or snorted.

''When I was smoking it, I could feel the slime on my teeth,'' Zigas recalled.

One offshoot of methamphetamine abuse also appears to be insatiable appetite for high-caffeine, high-sugar sodas, particularly Mountain Dew. That can combine with the frenetic nature of the drug, letting users go for long periods without good hygiene.

While there are no fancy crown and bridge restorations, there is a debate about what level of dental care to provide offenders, particularly in a period of increased prison populations and budget demands, said Nanette Schroeder, director of health services for the state Corrections Department.

''Should we be providing them with dentures so that when they go to apply for a job they at least have a decent smile? Even as a team, we couldn't come to an agreement as to whether or not that was something the state should be doing,'' she said.

Scripps Howard News Service
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:31:11 PM EDT
let him eat white bread and water if he lost his teeth because of meth.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:31:13 PM EDT

...Zigas' condition was so bad that he once bit into a peanut butter sandwich and left teeth in the bread...


NICE!!!!


Fuck 'em.  Let 'em "eat" broth.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:32:26 PM EDT
Smoking Crack cocaine is just as bad for the teeth.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:34:40 PM EDT
If I was in the joint, I'd prefer a cell mate with no teeth.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:35:15 PM EDT
[sarcasm]
Meth should be legalized so we all can enjoy the benefits of bad teeth.    
[/sarcasm]
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:35:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By osprey21:
If I was in the joint, I'd prefer a cell mate with no teeth.



Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:51:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By osprey21:
If I was in the joint, I'd prefer a cell mate with no teeth.



That is why I come to ARFCOM, you won't find humor like that anywhere else. That is hilarious, Dave Chappel would be proud.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:54:52 PM EDT
I say dont give them dental care, I work and I would have to pay for my dental care
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:57:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

...Zigas' condition was so bad that he once bit into a peanut butter sandwich and left teeth in the bread...


NICE!!!!


Fuck 'em.  Let 'em "eat" broth.


+1.  Let'em enjoy life through a straw.
Link Posted: 1/11/2005 4:50:49 AM EDT
Hey, I know!!!  They have wood shops in prison don't they?  Well, let the toothless morons whittle up some wooden teeth!  This way they get to learn a skill AND save us productive tax payers some money too.

Link Posted: 1/11/2005 4:57:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Taxman:
I say dont give them dental care, I work and I would have to pay for my dental care



Unfortunately, 51% of the folks in the blue states and even some red states know you work and want YOU to pay for the meth heads dental care too.
Link Posted: 1/11/2005 5:12:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/11/2005 5:21:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Flak_Jacket:

Originally Posted By osprey21:
If I was in the joint, I'd prefer a cell mate with no teeth.








Link Posted: 1/11/2005 5:33:13 AM EDT
They need to have what teeth they have left took out with a good buttstroke to the mouth. Repeat until all teeth are gone. Much cheaper then a dentist.
Link Posted: 1/11/2005 5:46:07 AM EDT
I think we may be on to something here.  Put all the meth heads in a seperate cell block and let them have all the meth they can do.  Very soon afterwards, we won't have to worry about them or their teeth.

Either that or charge them for their dental work.  Their families can pay for it or they can work it off at a dollar a day.
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