Photographer Olivia Fernandez is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Methamphetamine Anonymous’. To see Olivia’s body of work, click on any image.
While public health officials have focused on the opioid epidemic in recent years, another epidemic has been brewing quietly, but vigorously, behind the scenes. Methamphetamine Anonymous is a project exploring the landscape of methamphetamine addiction in Northwest Arkansas. Through black and white photographs this work aims to capture the atmosphere of the region, exploring the contradictions between the state’s conservatism and the abuse, neglect, and malaise that stems from the widespread use of meth. Economically impoverished, and with a lack of opportunity and education in its rural communities, Arkansas is one of the largest consumers of methamphetamine in the country.
Arkansas, May 2019
All images and text © Olivia Fernandez
By Olivia Fernandez
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The methamphetamine epidemic is far worse than the opioid epidemic. I am saying this as a registered nurse who has worked in both the medical system and the mental health system. The problem with meth is that it does permanent damage to the brain. It makes people schizophrenic so that they will hear voices, see things, and live in a delusional world for the rest of their lives. And psychiatric medication will have little effect. I have seen young people in their 20s who have completely destroyed their brains and capacity for rational thought by using meth. Their lives have essentially been ruined as a result. Meth also damages the heart, leading to very low cardiac function.
Tragic this has to happen in the US.
This is very sad. But, pleasure chases pain, even if the pleasure is short lived and creates greater pain. Its one of the biggest contradictions of human life.