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Crystal Meth

What is Crystal Meth?

Crystal Methamphetamine or Ice is a highly addictive, illegal drug and the number of young people using it is rapidly increasing in Australia. It is made from over the counter drugs combined with dangerous chemicals such as acetone (nail polish remover), bleach, battery acid, red phosphorus and engine coolant. It looks like sheets of glass often with a hint of green, pink or blue. On the street it goes by many names like crystal meth, ice, glass, shard, crank, puff, shabu, Tina and Christine. It can be injected, smoked, swallowed or snorted.

What are the effects?

Meth is a kind of methamphetamine that cause a huge surge in the chemicals in your brain that keep you functioning normally.

Short term affects of Crystal Meth include:
  • feeling elated and euphoric
  • higher motivation
  • increased alertness
  • paranoia
  • anxiety
  • psychosis
  • decreased appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • mood swings
Long term affects include:
  • decreased bone density
  • involuntary muscle movement
  • increased body temperature
  • increased heart strain
  • liver and kidney damage
  • cracked teeth and rotted gums, also known as ‘Meth Mouth’
  • premature ageing
  • hair loss
  • skin lesions
  • acne

Check out this link to see how extreme and fast changes in appearance can be with meth use.

Crystal Meth and Mental Health

As we’ve already mentioned, ice affects the balance and availability of chemicals in our brains. When these chemicals are depleted by ice our chance of experiencing mental health issues greatly increases.

Some users become agitated, moody, unhappy and anxious, they can also have a very hard time sleeping. Ice usage is also associated with other mental health issues including chronic fatigue, anxiety, severe depression and psychosis. Any pre-existing mental health conditions can be exacerbated with meth use.

Meth users often experience hallucinations. Hallucinating crank bugs (bugs crawling beneath the skin) is very common and users will pick and cut at the skin relentlessly to get these ‘bugs’ out. Have a look at the clip below to experience what crank bugs feel like.

Crystal Meth and Relationships

Sleep deprivation, increased aggression and addiction impact very strongly on family and friends. Meth users can become violent and verbally abusive, stealing and lying to family and friends is not uncommon and leads to social exclusion.

Strong addiction means users are much more likely to have unsafe sex, often in exchange for the drug. This means meth users have some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the community.

The extreme addictiveness of the drug also means users struggle to keep their job or continue with studying.  Often users lose their friends who are not associated with meth. And if all this doesn’t convince you, remember that Crystal Meth is illegal, using it could see you in some serious trouble with the law.

Where to go for help:

DrugInfo
KidsHelp
eheadspace
DirectLine-Victoria

Most of this information has been taken from the Victorian Government website on Ice, for more information check out; What are you doing on ice?