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crystal meth
(crystal methamphetamine, tina, crystal meths, krank, tweak, ice)

Crystal meth is an intensive stimulant with disinhibitory qualities

Once very big amongst some of the US gay community but now spreading fast into mainstream culture, meth was originally used by bikers and truckers to stay awake on long journeys.

Crystal is made of highly volatile, toxic substances (based on such chemical "precursors" as methylamine and amyl amine) that are melded in differing combinations, forming what some have described as a "mix of laundry detergent and lighter fluid."

The mixes are never exactly the same, but basic types are a rough yellow substance called Hydro and a smooth white blend called Glass. Half a gram costs around £25 and a £15 hit would probably keep you going for a few days.

The drug can either be snorted or injected, or in its crystal form 'ice' smoked in a pipe, and brings on a feeling of exhilaration and a sharpening of focus. Smoking ice results in an instantaneous dose of almost pure drug to the brain, giving a huge rush followed by a feeling of euphoria for anything from 2-16 hours.

For some this could result in obsessive cleaning or tidying, but for many the biggest bonus is the sense of sexual liberation which can result in mad, abandoned sex for hours - sometimes days - on end.

It's ability to keep users awake and feeling good for long periods have resulted in the drug making heavy inroads into the US gay dance scene, although its use is still rare in the UK.


Side effects: The biggest risk is from the increased chance of HIV infection through unprotected and uninhibited sex while under the influence of meth. The liberating nature of the drug means that often safe sex is discarded while sexual activity increases greatly. It has been reported in the States that in almost half of the new AIDS cases, crystal meth has been a factor.

Smoking ice results in body temperature rises and rapid cardiac and respiratory rates developing as the blood pressure increases. The drug can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, and bizarre, aggressive and psychotic behaviour.

Health risks: The effects and dependence potential of meth are similar to that of amphetamine misuse, although as the stuff is a lot stronger, the dangers involved are greater with an increased chance of overdose.

Overuse can bring on paranoia, short term memory loss, wild rages and mood swings as well as damage to your immune system. As far as we know, it is not physically addictive, although many have quickly developed a very strong psychological and damaging dependence for the drug.

Overdosing can lead to severe convulsions followed by circulatory and respiratory collapse, coma and death. Some people have died after taking small doses.

The mix of chemicals, method of use and the user's lifestyle can do serious damage to the mouth ('Meth mouth'), with teeth rotting to the gum line as a result of the meth vapours.

The Law: Formerly a Class B drug, meth was reclassified as class A in June 2006, with possession punishable by up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Crystal meth made class A drug [BBC Jan 2007]
Montana Meth Project
Crystal meth to be class A drug [BBC June 2006]
Crystal methamphetamine and sex
Meth mouth

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Special note:
This site is all about harm reduction. We realise that some people will take drugs no matter what advice they are given, so we have reproduced this guide for information purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are being coerced into taking drugs, or are in any doubt about taking a substance, our advice is to always refuse.

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