As if methamphetamine were not bad enough - someone had to come up with a way to make it stronger, harsher, more addictive and more damaging. They called it "crystal meth."
When you further purify methamphetamine and allow it to crystallize, you get chunks of ice-like material. In that form, it can be smoked, while methamphetamine normally cannot be as it is too irritating and damaging to the lungs. Crystal meth can also be dissolved in water and injected. The result is a fast, intense high that can last 12 hours or more, compared to the hour or so high of cocaine. The initial rush is usually followed by hours of euphoria, increased activity and talkativeness. The heart beats faster, body temperature may be raised. The user normally has little or no appetite and does not feel fatigue.
Use of Crystal Methamphetamine Creates Severe Mental and Physical Damage
Users may continue to abuse this drug for days, not eating or sleeping. These binges are often followed by a crash, meaning the user collapses and sleeps for days. When users wake up, they are normally so depleted that they are depressed and irrational. Chronic users often begin to evidence aggressive, paranoid and violent behavior. They may be confused and even psychotic and suffer from insomnia. Mental symptoms may last for years after a person has stopped using the drug.
Chronic use can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Injecting crystal meth users run a risk of collapsed veins, abcesses, pneumonia or blood-borne diseases. In large cities, crystal meth is frequently used in gay communities, where it increases the risk of hepatitis and HIV due to risky sexual contact while high on the drug.
Names for Crystal Methamphetamine
If you hear someone talking about: Batu, Blade, Cristy, Crystal, Crystal glass, Hanyak, Hiropon, Hot ice, L.A. glass, L.A. ice, Quartz, Shabu, Shards, Stove top, Super ice, Tina, Ventana or Vidri - chances are they are talking about crystal methamphetamine.
What Problems Does Crystal Meth Create During Pregnancy?
Crystal meth crosses the placenta meaning that the baby is exposed to meth along with the mother. Babies exposed to meth often suffer from restricted growth, meaning they may be born underweight and with some developmental deficiencies. The drug can also cause damage to the placenta, causing it to rupture. This causes bleeding, endangering both mother and baby, and may necessitate premature delivery of the baby.
Babies chronically exposed to crystal meth during development can be born addicted to the drug. Their withdrawal symptoms include tremors, sleeplessness and painful muscle spasms. As the baby grows, he or she may suffer problems learning and thinking clearly.
What Areas Have Problems with Crystal Meth?
In the United States, crystal meth was originally brought into the country from Asia, so it first wreaked havoc in Hawaii and along the West Coast. As domestic drug dealers learned to make crystal meth, the damage traveled east. Rural areas in Central California, Missouri and Arkansas, among other states, were very hard hit. The manufacture of crystal meth produces strong chemical odors so meth "cooks" often set up manufacturing facilities in remote areas. In the US, only the Northeast and Northern Midwest states still have a low incidence of crystal meth problems.
Hawaii's problems with crystal meth peaked in 2005, then declined for the next few years. Unfortunately, the problems have been growing again the last few years. In 2010, arrest records showed that 43 percent of federal convictions in the state involve crystal meth. In one short time period in 2011, the police in Hawaii were forced to shoot and kill three violent criminals who were high on methamphetamine. It's estimated that crystal meth costs the Hawaiian people more than $500 million each year.
Australia's problems with meth started when there was a heroin shortage in 2001. Some heroin abusers switched to crystal meth
Because crystal meth is both produced in nearby Asia and domestically as well, there is a steady availability to Australians. By 2006, Australia was seeing an epidemic of meth addiction and admissions to treatment. New Zealand found that it had to learn how to deal with this problem as well, when the number of meth labs in that country increased from 10 to more than 200 in just a few years.
But the majority of crystal methamphetamine users live in Asia, according to the United Nations. A recent survey showed that ten percent of Philippine residents had abused crystal meth in the prior six months, compared to less than one percent of Americans who had used the drug in the prior year.
Where is Crystal Meth Being Manufactured?
Small domestic labs supplied most of the US addictions until 2004-2006, when states began to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing cold medications. As these labs went out of business, Mexican drug traffickers began to build "Superlabs" capable of producing a hundred pounds of methamphetamine per production cycle, but they had to acquire their precursor chemicals from China or India.
But this hardly compared to the discovery of a "Megalab" in the Philippines in 2003. This Megalab had a weekly production capacity of 1,100 pounds per week. As China and India have large chemical industries, it is easier for unscrupulous drug traffickers to set up manufacturing facilities in Southeast Asia and then ship the product to international markets. Other huge labs were found in 2004 and 2005 in Malaysia, Fiji and Indonesia. In Australia in 2010, a Malaysian man was arrested with 200 pounds of crystal meth in two suitcases in his home. The drugs had a street value of more than $14.3 million (US).
In Europe, the Czech Republic is the prime supplier of methamphetamine and crystal meth to Europe. While most European countries had perhaps five or ten meth labs seized, the Czech Republic was home to more than 400 meth labs that were seized and destroyed. It is estimated that out of every 20 doses of crystal meth used in Europe, 19 come from the Czech Republic. There are no restrictions on buying pseudoephedrine-containing cold medications in Poland, so that is where Czech meth manufacturers go for their supplies.
If you know someone who is using crystal meth, contact a Narconon drug rehabilitation counselor right away and get them some help.
Also find a methamphetamine FAQ.
Narconon Drug Information Department