Part of the amphetamine family of stimulant drugs
What does it look like?
Methamphetamine can come in several different forms – including tablets, powder, or crystals. The tablets are sometimes referred to as yaba and the smokeable crystals are often called crystal meth or ice.
Depending on its form, methamphetamine can be swallowed, snorted or injected.
Smoking the purer, crystalline form of methamphetamine, known as crystal meth, produces a very intense high similar to that produced by crack cocaine but much longer lasting.
Sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment, runs the risk of the injector catching or spreading viruses, such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged, and of abscesses or clots developing.
How does it make you feel?
Methamphetamine can reduce your appetite and make you feel:
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size, whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.
How long it lasts
The effects of methamphetamine can last a very long time.
Smoking the purer, crystalline form of methamphetamine, crystal meth, produces a very intense high similar to that produced by crack cocaine but is much longer lasting. The effects can last for a period of between 4 and 12 hours.
The comedown from methamphetamine is severe.
How long will it be detectable?
Crystal meth can report positive in a urine test for 1 to 4 days after using.
How long a drug can be detected for depends on how much is taken and which testing kit is used. This is only a general guide.
Physical health risks
Increased heart rate and blood pressure, raising the risk of heart attack – the higher the dose, the greater these effects.
In cases of overdose: stroke, lung, kidney and gastrointestinal damage can develop, and coma and death can occur.
There’s evidence that long-term methamphetamine use can cause brain damage, although this gradually gets better if the user stays off the drug for a long time.
Inhibitions are lowered and libido may be increased – this can lead to taking part in risky activities that you would not normally do, such as having unsafe sex, which itself can lead to other risks, such as catching a sexually transmitted disease or an unplanned pregnancy.
Mental health risks
Severe psychosis caused by methamphetamine have been reported in countries where there is widespread use of the drug. Psychosis is a serious mental state where you lose touch with reality and may come to believe things that are not true.
There’s evidence that long-term use can damage the brain, although this gradually gets better if the user stays off the drug for a long time.
What is methamphetamine cut with?
It’s not unusual for drugs to have things added to them to increase the weight and the dealer’s profits.
They can be cut with other amphetamines (like speed, caffeine, ephedrine, sugars (like glucose), starch powder, laxatives, talcum powder, paracetamol and other drugs with some similar effects.
Some impurities can be added by mistake, as impurities can be formed during the manufacturing process for methamphetamine.
Can you get addicted?
Yes – is the simple answer. For some people, methamphetamine use can lead to very strong psychological and physical dependence, especially if it is injected or smoked.
This usually means they have cravings for methamphetamine, and a very strong drive to keep on using it despite evidence of accumulating harms.
The crystal form of methamphetamine, sometimes called crystal meth or ice, is extremely powerful and addictive. Some compare it to crack cocaine as both are smoked and give an intense, powerful high followed by a very severe comedown, and both are very addictive.
This is a Class B drug, which means it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.
Additional law details
methamphetamines are a class B drug and only class A if prepared for injection.