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Crystal meth pipe

Crystal meth

It's a highly addictive amphetamine, gaining popularity in Britain. Here's what you need to know about the effects and the legality of crystal meth.

Crystal meth (crystal methamphetamine) is a powerful stimulant that, even in small doses, can cause insomnia, increased physical activity and decreased appetite. It is a member of the amphetamine family of drugs that also includes speed. Crystal meth usually comes in ice-like crystal chunks or in a coarse powdered form. It's made from a highly volatile combination of substances, which can include household cleaning products. It can be smoked, eaten, snorted or injected and the effects can last anywhere from two to 20 hours. Crystal meth started out as a drug used primarily by the gay community but is now slowly entering the mainstream in the UK.

What are the effects of taking crystal meth?

  • Sharpened attention
  • Increased libido
  • Euphoria
  • Insomnia
  • Increased activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate/breathing
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth

What are the risks of taking crystal meth?

  • Insomnia and disturbed moods are very common when coming down from meth.
  • Crystal methamphetamine is highly addictive and it's easy to become dependant.
  • Regular use leads to extreme weight loss, serious dental problems and speeds up the signs of aging.
  •  Users often pick at their skin, past the point of bleeding, as crystal meth causes itching and the sensation of insects crawling on the skin.
  • There will be an increased chance of contracting HIV and other STIs from unprotected sex while under the influence. The drug has the effect of dramatically reducing inhibitions and can produce a feeling of invincibility. This, combined with the effect of massively increasing the sex drive, can mean that safe sex is forgotten.
  • Taking crystal meth can cause irreversible damage to the immune system and to the metabolism.
  • Some people have died after taking just small doses of the drug.

The law and crystal meth:

Crystal meth is a Class A drug. It is illegal to produce, supply, or possess. It is also illegal to allow premises to be used for supplying or producing crystal meth.

Crystal meth is also known as:

Tina, meth, ice, tweak, glass, Christine, cristy, quartz, ice cream, crank, go fast, fire, yaba and  Hillybilly crack

Other terms associated with crystal meth:

Amped/ cranked/ tweaking - terms used to describe being high on crystal meth.

Crank bugs - the feeling, common to meth users, of bugs crawling over the skin.

Meth mouth - the advanced state of dental decay common to many crystal meth addicts.

If you're planning to take crystal meth:

  • Don't mix your drugs. Mixing crystal meth with cocaine or ecstasy is very dangerous, putting extra strain on the heart and increasing the risk of over-heating.
  • As crystal meth decreases inhibitions and increases the sex drive, safe sex can become an after-thought. It is essential to stay safe during sex so always carry -and use condoms.
  • Don't take too much. It is possible to overdose on crystal meth, which can lead to permanent damage to your body and mind or death.
  • If you are using crystal meth over long periods of time you are advised to take multi-vitamin and calcium supplements, as well as keeping a check on your body weight.
  • Avoid injecting crystal meth. This can damage your body and sharing needles can pass on diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.
  • If you have schizophrenic tendencies there are real dangers even the mildest use of crystal meth could push you over the edge.

Updated: 22/10/2009

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