Substance Use and Abuse: Understanding More about Crystal Meth

The shortened name for the highly addictive stimulant called methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant, is simply “meth.” In its crystalline form, the drug is commonly called “crystal meth,” or any number of other street names, some of which are noted below.

What is Methamphetamine and How Is It Used?

crystal methMuch like crack cocaine, crystal meth is usually smoked in glass pipes. It can also be injected (either dry or dissolved in water), snorted, swallowed, or inserted into the anus or urethra. Some of the reasons that may lead people to use or abuse crystal meth include curiosity, peer pressure, pain relief, stress, and entertainment.

Because of its high potential for substance use and abuse, Methamphetamine is available only through a non-refillable prescription. Although the drug can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, with prescribed doses being significantly lower than those typically abused.

The ABCs of Crystal Meth Street Names

No matter what you call it, substance use and abuse involving crystal meth is a dangerous game. These are only some of the street names you may hear used for this destructive drug:

Biker’s Coffee, Blade, Chalk, Crank, Cristy, Glass, Hot Ice, LA Ice, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Quartz, Shards, Tina and Trash.

Effects of Crystal Meth Use

Let’s look at just some of the common effects of both immediate and chronic use of this drug, which contains powerful and highly addictive components. Note that these effects are associated with the use of pure methamphetamine; due to the way it is made, however, crystal meth is never pure and the dangers associated with it can be even more extensive.

Immediate Effects of Crystal Meth:

  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loss of appetite, insomnia and tremors
  • Agitation, irritability, panic, violence and confusion
  • Increased blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and blood sugar levels
  • Constriction of arterial walls

Effects from Chronic Crystal Meth Use:

  • Increased tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect)
  • Drug craving
  • Withdrawal symptoms, including depression and anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities, such as hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions)
  • “Meth Mouth” where teeth decay rapidly and fall out
  • Drug-related psychosis

Crystal meth overdose can include brain damage, sensations of “crawling” flesh, hallucinations, paranoia, muscle breakdown leading to kidney damage or failure, and death due to stroke, heart attack or hyperthermia (elevated body temperature).  

The Inherent Dangers of Making Crystal Meth

crystal methNo matter how you look at it, making crystal meth is hazardous both to the people making it and the neighborhood where it’s being made. Among other hazards, the process creates poisonous phosphine gas, and white phosphorus can auto-ignite and cause a meth lab to explode. Along with phosphine and phosphorus, various hazardous vapors may be associated with a meth lab, such as chloroform, ether, acetone and ammonia.

Help for Crystal Meth Use and Abuse

Seeking expert help from a qualified rehab program is one of the best ways to avoid damaging or even fatal consequences from substance use and abuse of this kind. Highly trained professionals will guide a crystal meth addict through the process of reversing the drug’s negative and undesirable effects. Rehab treatment also helps the individual to regain a healthy focus and become productive in life. The key thing to remember is that it is never too late to help someone who is using or abusing crystal meth.


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