It comes in clear crystal chunks or shiny blue-white rocks. Also called “ice” or “glass,” it’s a popular party drug. Usually, users smoke crystal meth with a small glass pipe, but they may also swallow it, snort it, or inject it into a vein. People say they have a quick rush of euphoria shortly after using it. But it’s dangerous. It can damage your body and cause severe psychological problems.
WHAT IS CRYSTAL METH?
Crystal meth is short for crystal methamphetamine. It is just one form of the drug methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine is a white crystalline drug that people take by snorting it (inhaling through the nose), smoking it or injecting it with a needle. Some even take it orally, but all develop a strong desire to continue using it because the drug creates a false sense of happiness and well-being—a rush (strong feeling) of confidence, hyperactiveness and energy. One also experiences decreased appetite. These drug effects generally last from six to eight hours, but can last up to twenty-four hours.
The first experience might involve some pleasure, but from the start, methamphetamine begins to destroy the user’s life.
WHAT IS METHAMPHETAMINE?
Methamphetamine is an illegal drug in the same class as cocaine and other powerful street drugs. It has many nicknames—meth, crank, chalk or speed being the most common. (See the list of street names.)
Crystal meth is used by individuals of all ages, but is most commonly used as a “club drug,” taken while partying in night clubs or at rave parties. Its most common street names are ice or glass.
How Does It Make You Feel?
The powerful rush people get from using meth causes many to get hooked right from the start. When it’s used, a chemical called dopamine floods the parts of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Users also feel confident and energetic.
A user can become addicted quickly and soon finds he will do anything to have the rush again. As he continues to use the drug, he builds up a tolerance. That means he needs higher doses to get the same high. The higher the dose, the higher the risks.
WHAT DOES METHAMPHETAMINE LOOK LIKE?
Methamphetamine usually comes in the form of a crystalline white powder that is odorless, bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol.
Other colors of powder have been observed, including brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. It can also be compressed into pill form.
As covered earlier, it can be snorted, smoked or injected.
Crystal meth comes in clear chunky crystals resembling ice and is most commonly smoked.
What Are the Effects?
- Meth can make a user’s body temperature rise so high he could pass out or even die.
- A user may feel anxious and confused, be unable to sleep, have mood swings, and become violent.
- Looks can change dramatically. A user may age quickly. His skin may dull, and he can develop hard-to-heal sores and pimples. He may have a dry mouth and stained, broken, or rotting teeth.
- He may become paranoid. He may hear and see things that aren’t there. He may think about hurting himself or others. He may also feel as though insects are crawling on or under his skin.
- A meth user is at higher risk for HIV/AIDS. The drug can affect judgment and lessen inhibitions. Someone under the influence of the drug may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unsafe sex
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?
Meth is a powerful stimulant drug that causes an energetic high. While the effects of the drug typically last from six to 12 hours, traces of meth stay in the body longer. The amount of time that the drug remains in the body can vary widely depending on the person’s physical characteristics, the average dose of meth taken and the frequency of use.
The average window for detecting methamphetamine in a person’s urine is up to three days. Saliva tests can detect the drug one to two days after last use, and hair tests can identify any meth use in the past three months.
The drug can remain in the body much longer after frequent or heavy meth use, which is common among people with a meth addiction. People who use meth occasionally, or recreationally, usually clear the drug from their system more quickly than a chronic meth user will.
How Meth Addiction Is Treated
Meth addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat, but it can be done. If you know someone with the problem, don’t try to help him by yourself. Users need a professional counselor or drug treatment program. To find resources in your area, use the Treatment Locator created by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration .