PNG Doctor warns about serious impacts of meth use

Photo: Port Moresby General Hospital/Facebook

The use of methamphetamines is a serious issue and has the potential to catastrophically impact Papua New Guinea society if not addressed, a doctor says.

Registrar for emergency medicine at Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) Dr Clare Tomida said this during a presentation on the drug at the National Conference on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in PNG in Port Moresby.

“It’s a ticking time bomb,” she said.

“Meth will change everything and it starts physiologically.”

Tomdia said the chemical structure of meth was similar to naturally occurring hormones dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

She said meth affected the natural functions of the brain and had long term effects on users.

Tomida said meth use could cause many users to suffer side effects including high heart rates, elevated blood pressure, difficulty breathing, body temperature fluctuations, and induce paranoia.

She said meth could be ingested through several means such as injecting (intravenous), smoking, in tablet form and sniffing.

She said meth stayed active in the body for about 10 hours.

Tomida added that accurate and up-to-date information on the number of users in the country and related information would allow authorities to develop effective strategies to address the drug abuse problem.

Meanwhile, New Guinea Islands deputy chief psychiatrist Michael Mai says Papua New Guineans must seriously start caring for their mental health.

“Papua New Guinea had a strong foundation set by our founding fathers in the likes of the late Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare,” he said.

“But what foundation are we standing on now and what went wrong?”

Dr Mai said the social issues that is read in newspapers and watched on television were not what “we are supposed to experience or is not expected of us”.

“We must not train our minds to think negatively,” he said.

“When we take care of our health, our mindset is also changed.

“Once you are healthy, your family, your society and even the country is healthy. We need healthy mindsets to make sane and effective decisions for the people and country,” he said