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What is Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth or methamphetamine is a highly addictive amphetamine and has effects similar to that of cocaine. It's known on the street as jib, crank, meth, crystal, ice, or speed. Methamphetamine is usually a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder which dissolves easily in water or alcohol. It can be swallowed, smoked, injected or snorted. It is a synthetic (man-made) drug, and can be manufactured anywhere using chemicals, including acetone, drain cleaner, lithium, iodine, paint thinner, kerosene, red phosphorous and muriatic acid.
What are its effects?
- Small doses can make you feel alert and energetic
- Acne-like sores
- Racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart failure, death
- Damage to blood vessels in the brain or stroke
- Sleeping problems, exhaustion, restlessness
- Weight loss
- Confusion, paranoia, irritability and anxiety
- Shakiness, sweating, blurred vision, dizziness
- Depression, violent, aggressive and suicidal behaviour
- Stomach pain and extreme hunger
- Out-of-control rages (tweaking)
- Overdose can cause delusions, hallucinations, seizures, stroke, heart failure, coma and death
What are the risks?
- The only way to stay completely safe is not to take crystal meth at all.
- Every batch of crystal meth is tainted with toxic chemicals.
- Injection drug use is very risky. Sharing needles can spread HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Used needles must be disposed of properly. Call a local needle exchange program.
- Railing (snorting) increases chances of damaging the inside of the nose, or infection.
- Smoking can cause lung damage.
- If you use amphetamines regularly, you can have chronic sleep problems, mood swings, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, weight loss, constipation or diarrhea, and nutritional problems. High doses of the drug can result in nerve damage, chronic psychosis, paranoia, and hallucinations. Most of these problems disappear a few days or weeks after drug use stops. There is evidence, however, that methamphetamine can cause lasting brain damage.
- After chronic use, even at low doses, users can develop dependence. Cravings can get very intense, and users may go to great lengths to obtain more. They continue to use the drug to avoid the crash they experience when the drug’s effects wear off.
- Babies born to amphetamine users are more likely to be born prematurely, have low birth weight, and experience withdrawal symptoms like agitation and drowsiness. They may also have an increased risk of birth defects. The drug passes to nursing babies through the mothers’ milk.