Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful stimulant with high rates of addiction. It is synthetic and made from a collection of chemicals such as ephedrine, red phosphorous and iodine. It can be snorted or swallowed but is often smoked, giving a strong sense of confidence and energy.
Its use is fairly low in the UK but where it has become popular (US, Thailand, South Africa) its progress has become very rapid and prevalence has risen in a very short time. It has some popularity in British gay clubs.
It looks often like white crystals or powder but can even come as a pill. The high is long and intense and encourages repeated use. It can bring about delusional behaviour. There are strong links to dependence and deteriorating mental health problems. It costs about £50 a gram.
Also known as: Crystal meth, ice, crank, yaba,
Meth gives such a strong high and encourages dependence more rapidly than many other drugs. The smokeable nature of the drug is the main reason why it is so addictive (most amphetamines cannot be smoked). Meth encourages repeat dosing where on one session users may take several lines to restore the original high. Any stimulant badly disrupts sleep patterns and the ability to function with the normal side of life. It puts pressure on family, friends, work and study.
Meth works on the nervous system and makes the heart rate much faster so many of the health issues relate to the heart such as elevated blood pressure, risk of developing heart disease and risk of heart attack. Heavy users often sniff a lot, scratch their skin, especially the face and may suffer weight loss. Prolonged use can lead to paranoia, anxiety and psychotic episodes.
For every high there is a downside and meth users often feel depressed for a day or two after a big night. Meth use is also very damaging to the gums and causes a condition known as ‘meth mouth’ where teeth begin to fall out.
It is better not to smoke meth as it encourages dependence in a relatively short period. Take long gaps between sessions and avoid alcohol. Do not take meth if you have any heart problems, elevated blood pressure or any mental health issues.
Do not engage in risky sexual behaviour – always use a condom.
You should not be responsible for anyone if you have taken meth. It will take many hours for you to feel straight again.
Meth is illegal to possess and supply. It is a Class A drug. Possession with a small amount may lead to a court appearance and a fine but prison is unlikely. The police may choose to offer to caution you which is still a criminal record. If you have enough to supply a few grams to friends you may be charged with ‘possession with intent to supply’ – it depends on the circumstances of the case but a conviction may lead to fine, community service or even imprisonment.
If you are convicted of dealing in the drug and making money out if, you will probably be imprisoned, depending on the amount.