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Crystal Meth / Speed / 'P'
Methamphetamine or Speed in its numerous forms is dangerous and addictive and there is a worrying trend in the increasing use of speed and 'P' in New Zealand.
What is Crystal Meth?
CLASSIFICATION: CNS stimulant TYPE Synthetic Illegal

EXPLANATION: lt is the freebase form of methamphetamine. It is odorless, colorless, resembles rock salt or a chip of ice or quartz rock.

METHOD OF USE: Inhaled by smoking
DURATION OF ACTION: 8 to 24 hrs.
DETECTION IN URINE SCREENING: 48 to 72 hrs. - 2 to 3 days.
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS: Same as for methamphetamines/crank. Violence and hostility are more severe.
PHYSICAL EFFECTS: Same as for methamphetamines/crank
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Same as for methamphetamine/crank but in some cases more severe with hallucinations, paranoid ideation and toxic psychosis. Recovery from psychosis may be complete; for some, however, there has been no improvement after 2 years with medications.
OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS: See methamphetamines

For more information and help please visit Crystal Meth Anonymous at

CLASSIFICATION: Central Nervous System Stimulant

TYPE: Synthetic - Illegal
STREET NAMES: Meth, tweak, crystal meth, speed, glass, ice, hot ice, super ice, L.A. glass, burn.

EXPLANATION: Methamphetamine is amphetamine to which 1 methyl group has been added thus it is more potent and can cross the blood brain barrier more rapidly than amphetamine. May be cut with toxic substances like cyanide or strychnine.
DETECTION IN URINE SCREENING: 48 to 72 hrs after use, - 2 to 3 days.

LOW DOSE: Increased alertness, wakefulness, elevation of mood, mild euphoria, increase in athletic performance, decrease in fatigue, increased energy, or may cause increased irritability, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, panic.
HIGH DOSES: Euphoria, can induce a pattern of psychosis marked by confused, disorganized behaviors, irritability, fear, paranoia, hallucinations, increased aggressiveness and antisocial behaviors.
PHYSICAL EFFECTS: Puts body in "overdrive", ready for fight or flight syndrome, increased pulse, blood pressure, respiration, and temp., and dilate pupils. Can cause a stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Disorientation, confusion, apathy, irritability, itching, depression that may be so severe that suicide occurs. Long periods of sleep and increased appetite occurs because while the user was on a "run" taking drugs for one or more days they did not sleep or eat.
OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS: Agitation, hostility, hallucinations, convulsions, possible death, high temp.


Rapid Speech, Ringing Ears, Voiding Body Waste, Passing Out, Heart Races / Irregular heart beat , Rapid Jaw Movement, Translucent Skin, Misses Work Frequently, Poor Bathing Habits, Brittle Hair, Impaired Judgment, Blurred Vision, Dizziness, Euphoria / Dreamlike State, Nose Flesh Eaten, Menstrual Cycle Stops, Loss of Fetus, Paranoia / Phobic Disorders, Fidgeting, Dehydration, Kidney Problems, Biting Finger Nails, Difficulty Sleeping (can last for Days / Weeks), Difficulty in eating and drinking (can last for Days / Weeks), Picking at Skin / Bloody Scabs, Rapid Weight Loss, Spending Tons of Money, Extreme Sex Drive / No Sex drive, Nightmares, Pushes Away Friends & Family / Lives in Seclusion, Slurred Speech, False Sense of Motivation, Morals & Values Diminish, Obsessive Lying, Panic Attacks, Extreme Fatigue, Rapid Speech, Gazing / Blank Stare, Enamel on Teeth Rot, Respiratory Disorders, Dizziness, Tooth Grinding, Dry or Itchy skin, Acne, Sores, Numbness, Extreme Sweating, Chest pain, Hypertension, Accelerated Heartbeat, Elevated Blood Pressure, Damage to Blood Vessels, Increased Alertness, Irritability, Extreme Nervousness, Anxiety, Aggression, Dilated Pupils, Hallucinations, Seizures, Strokes, Nose Bleeds, Runny Nose, Sniffing Excessively.

Tips for Teens: The Truth About Methamphetamine
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Slang: Speed, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Tweak, Go-fast, Ice, Glass, Uppers, Black beauties

Methamphetamine affects your brain. In the short term, meth causes mind and mood changes such as anxiety, euphoria, and depression. Long-term effects can include chronic fatigue, paranoid or delusional thinking, and permanent psychological damage.

Methamphetamine affects your body. Over "amping" on any type of speed is pretty risky. Creating a false sense of energy, these drugs push the body faster and further than it's meant to go. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of stroke.

Methamphetamine affects your self-control. Meth is as addictive as crack and more powerful.

Methamphetamine is not what it seems. Even speed drugs are not always safe. Giga-jolts of the well-known stimulants caffeine or ephedrine can cause stroke or cardiac arrest when overused or used by people with a sensitivity to them.

Methamphetamine can kill you. An overdose of meth can result in heart failure. Long-term physical effects such as liver, kidney, and lung damage may also kill you.

Know the law. Methamphetamine is illegal and highly dangerous.

Get the facts. The ignitable, corrosive, and toxic nature of the chemicals used to produce meth can cause fires, produce toxic vapors, and damage the environment.

Stay informed. Ninety-two percent of methamphetamine deaths reported in 1994 involved meth in combination with another drug, such as alcohol, heroin, or cocaine.

Know the risks. There are a lot of risks associated with using methamphetamine, including:
• Meth can cause a severe "crash" after the effects wear off.
• Meth use can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain.
• Meth users who inject the drug and share needles are at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Look around you. Everybody doesn't think it's okay to take methamphetamine. A 1999 National High School Survey indicates that over 80 percent of teens disapprove of using meth even once or twice.

How can you tell if a friend is using meth? It may not be easy to tell. But there are signs you can look for.

Symptoms of methamphetamine use may include:
• Inability to sleep
• Increased sensitivity to noise
• Nervous physical activity, like scratching
• Irritability, dizziness, or confusion
• Extreme anorexia
• Tremors or even convulsions
• Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of stroke
• Presence of inhaling paraphernalia, such as razor blades, mirrors, and straws
• Presence of injecting paraphernalia, such as syringes, heated spoons, or surgical tubing

Questions regarding Crystal Meth

Q. What can you do to help someone who is using meth?
A. Be a real friend. You might even save a life. Encourage your friend to stop or seek professional help.

For more information and please visit Crystal Meth Anonymous Aotearoa/New Zealand at

Q. Isn't methamphetamine less harmful than crack, cocaine, or heroin?
A. Some users get hooked the first time they snort, smoke, or inject meth. Because it can be made from
lethal ingredients like battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze, there is a greater chance
of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or serious brain damage with this drug than with other drugs.

Q. Isn't using methamphetamine like using diet pills?
A. No. Though it is easily attainable, methamphetamine is dangerous and addictive. Between 1993 and 1995, deaths due to meth rose 125 percent. Between 1996 and 1997, meth-related emergency room visits doubled. Use by 12- to 17-year-olds has increased dramatically in the past few years.

Patterns of Abuse

Methamphetamine abuse has three patterns: low intensity (does not involve psychological addiction), binge, and high intensity. The binge and high-intensity abusers smoke or inject meth to achieve a faster and stronger high; the patterns of abuse differ in the frequency in which the drug is abused and the stages within their cycles. The binge abuse cycle is made up of these stages: rush, high, binge, tweaking, crash, normal, and withdrawal.

• Rush (5-30 minutes)--The abuser's heartbeat races and metabolism, blood pressure, and pulse soar. Feelings of pleasure.
• High (4-16 hours)--The abuser often feels aggressively smarter and becomes argumentative.
• Binge (3-15 days)-The abuser maintains the high for as long as possible and becomes hyperactive, both mentally and physically.
• Tweaking -The most dangerous stage of the cycle. See section below.
• Crash (1-3 days)-The abuser poses only a limited threat. He becomes almost lifeless and sleeps.
• Normal (2-14 days)-The abuser returns to a state that is slightly deteriorated from the normal state before the abuse.
• Withdrawal (30-90 days)-No immediate symptoms are evident but the abuser first becomes depressed and then lethargic. The craving for meth hits and the abuser becomes suicidal. Taking meth at any time during withdrawal can stop the unpleasant feelings so, consequently, a high percentage of addicts in treatment return to abuse.

The most dangerous stage of meth abuse for abusers, family, friends, the public, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers is called "tweaking."  Consuming the drug continuously for up to 3 days without sleep, the user is driven into a severe depression, followed by worsening paranoia, belligerence, and aggression. Finally, the user collapses from exhaustion, only to awaken days later to begin the cycle again.

The new ephedrine-based methamphetamine has a usage pattern unlike that of traditional methamphetamine or crack cocaine. Several times more potent than its other forms, today's methamphetamine produces a reaction far more severe than even crack cocaine, with sleepless binges that last up to 15 days and end with intolerable crashes.

Tweakers often behave or react violently and if a tweaker is using alcohol or another depressant, his negative feelings and associated dangers intensify.  The tweaker craves more meth, but no dosage will help re-create the euphoric high, which causes frustration, and leads to unpredictability and potential for violence.

A tweaker can appear normal: eyes can be clear, speech concise, and movements brisk. But a closer look will reveal the person's eyes are moving ten times faster than normal, the voice has a slight quiver, and movements are quick and jerky. These physical signs are more difficult to identify if the tweaker is using a depressant.

Tweaker's are often involved in domestic disputes and motor vehicle accidents. They may also be present at "raves" or parties and they may participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes, such as purse snatchings or assaults, to support their habit.

Detaining a tweaker alone is not recommended and law enforcement officers should call for backup.

Safety Tips for Approaching a Tweaker

1. Keep a 2-3 Meter distance. Coming too close can be perceived as threatening.
2. Do not shine bright lights at him. The tweaker is already paranoid and if blinded by a bright light he is likely to run or become violent.
3. Slow your speech and lower the pitch of your voice. A tweaker already hears sounds at a fast pace and in a high pitch.
4. Slow your movements. This will decrease the odds that the tweaker will misinterpret your physical actions.
5. Keep your hands visible. If you place your hands where the tweaker cannot see them, he might feel threatened and could become violent.
6. Keep the tweaker talking. A tweaker who falls silent can be extremely dangerous. Silence often means that his paranoid thoughts have taken over reality, and anyone present can become part of the tweaker's paranoid delusions.

For more information and please visit Crystal Meth Anonymous Aotearoa/New Zealand at

Back to Drug Abuse Index

Methamphetamine or Speed in its numerous forms is dangerous and addictive

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