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Q: What can I use instead of methamphetamine to stay awake to work my three jobs?

Believe it or not, I have been posed this question in my surgical practice. I've had to delay or postpone several surgeries, so I can further evaluate my patients for the long-term adverse effects of methamphetamine use that might cause complications during and after their surgeries. I've also had to take care of many patients after accidents because of methamphetamine use.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and illegal psychostimulant drug. Meth first appeared in Hawaii in the 1980s as a recreational drug. However, most of the patients I encounter using meth have resorted to it in order to work longer hours. But meth is not iced coffee. Meth is very harmful. Methamphetamine is neurotoxic and can damage the brain. It may cause structural and functional changes in the brain associated with emotion and memory, severe dental problems, malnutrition, high blood pressure, vascular damage and heart failure.

Consider green tea, yerba mate, ginger root tea, fresh juice, coffee and dark green food for the B vitamins which will help give you that boost of energy. Working out regularly, at least three times a week, can give you energy as well and will also help you sleep better at night, so you feel refreshed and energized during the day.

Maui has resources available to treat people who are struggling with meth addiction. Please ask your primary care doctor for a referral to these programs here on Maui.

Stephanie Rose B. Yan, MD

General surgery, Trauma surgery, Critical care medicine

The Island Family Surgical Care
1830 Wells St., Suite 103
Wailuku, HI 96793