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Crystal Meth

by Jake Colton

Crystal Meth

  • Methamphetamine – What is it?
  • Is Crystal Meth Addictive?
  • How is Crystal Meth used?
  • What are the risks of injecting Crystal Meth?
  • Meth – Other Dangers and Downsides?

Crystal Meth – The Montana Meth Project


Methamphetamine – What is it?

  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth, Tina, speed, ice, glass) is a powerful stimulant drug.
  • It produces alertness, confidence and raises levels of energy and stamina.  It reduces appetite and lessens the desire and ability to sleep.
  • Like all stimulants, pupils are dilated (become larger) when the person is high.
  • In Chicago Meth is most prevalent in the gay community and is considered a “party drug.”

Methamphetamine – Is it Addictive?

  • Regular use can produce a need to increase the dose to get the same effect, and can lead to physical dependence on the drug.
  • Meth can produce a powerful craving for more of the drug.
  • Long-term use can result in serious mental and physical problems.

Crystal Meth – How is it Used?

  • Meth can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected.
  • Swallowing is the safest method of using speed. The effects come on gradually and last longer than with other methods.
  • Snorting speed takes effect faster than swallowing but it can damage the nose.
  • Smoking meth takes effect immediately and can more easily lead to addiction.
  • Injecting is the riskiest method of using meth.

Meth – Risks of Injecting (“Slamming”)

  • The dose reaches the brain almost immediately, increasing the possibility of overdose.
  • Impurities are introduced directly into the bloodstream and can cause septicemia and other infections.
  • Repeated injections damage the veins, leading to thrombosis and abscesses.
  • Sharing syringes can cause hepatitis and HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS.
  • Clean needles are available from needle exchange programs.

Meth – Other Risks and Downsides?

  • The ‘comedown’ off speed can make you feel tired, lethargic and depressed. This may tempt users to take more, and can lead to dependency.
  • Meth users are at higher HIV and hepatitis risk through unsafe sex and needle sharing.
  • Although rare, meth can cause seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death from overdose.
  • Many users become physically run down, which leaves them susceptible to a wide range of illnesses. Extended use of meth can cause psychosis. The user may think that everybody is out to get them, or that they are being followed or watched.
  • Mixing meth with other drugs, particularly other stimulants, can increase the risk of adverse reactions.
  • Meth is illegal. Possession can result in long prison terms.

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