Crystal meth

AKA: crystal, Tina, T, methamphetamine or meth (not to be confused with meph – mephedrone). USA: ice, crank, speed (not the same as UK speed).

  1. The basics
  2. Highs and lows
  3. Taking crystal meth
  4. Crystal with other drugs
  5. Useful to know

The basics

Crystal meth is a super-strength amphetamine stimulant. Industrial chemicals and cleaning products which can be toxic often go into making it.

Used in chillouts, sex parties and during sex or clubbing, crystal releases the brain’s stress hormone norepinephrine and ‘feel good’ chemicals dopamine and serotonin.

Meth comes as white or colourless crystals which can be crushed to make a powder. It can also come as a pill.

How it’s used

Meth in its crystalline form can be smoked through a glass pipe.

Crystal as a powder is usually snorted, but can be mixed with water and injected. It can also be injected up the arse with a syringe with the needle taken off - this is known as a 'booty bump'.

Using meth is called ‘tweaking’ and injecting it is called ‘slamming’.

Read our tips to make taking crystal meth safer ››

Highs and lows of crystal meth

Meth is used for energy during non-stop sex or dancing sessions. It can make you feel high, wide awake, confident, invincible, impulsive, less likely to feel pain and very horny with fewer inhibitions.

Crystal increases your body temperature, heart beat and blood pressure – possibly to dangerous levels - with the risk of heart attack, stroke, coma or death.

You might go for days without eating or sleeping because crystal suppresses your appetite and keeps you wide awake.

The comedown can leave you feeling exhausted, aggressive and paranoid, in some cases even suicidal. You can also develop stomach problems such as acid reflux or gastritis due to not eating for a long period of time.

Depending on how you take crystal, it can also damage the lungs, nose and mouth. 

The drug’s bad reputation is warranted by the many casualties it’s caused on the gay scene in America and Australia, and increasingly now in the UK.

Taking crystal meth

Sex on crystal meth

Crystal can make you feel very horny, even sexually compulsive. Some guys on crystal take sexual risks that they normally wouldn't, this can lead to picking up or passing on HIV.

Crystal often stops men from coming or getting a hard-on, which is known as ‘crystal dick’.

Long or rough crystal-fuelled sex sessions can cause a sore or bleeding arse, dick and mouth. These might not be noticed at the time but they mean that there's more risk of HIV, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being passed on.

Condoms are more likely to break after about half an hour of fucking. During long sex sessions on crystal, use plenty of water-based lube, check the condom remains intact and put a fresh one on after 30 minutes. Find out more about drugs and sex.

Sex on crystal has been described by regular users of the drug as cold, aggressive or disconnected.

A long-term relationship?

Tolerance to crystal meth builds up quickly and users need more to get the same high. The drug has a reputation for being quickly addictive.

Many who party with Tina have waved goodbye to jobs, homes, money, boyfriends, friends and health.

Even hardened gay scene party animals who can control their use of other drugs have found themselves out of their depth with crystal. It can become hard to think of having sex without being on meth and - like G and mephedrone - it can have a big impact on your ability to have sex sober.

Using crystal long-term can get scary: we’re talking psychosis or lasting mental health problems, even after quitting the drug.

Quitting crystal is very hard and its effects on the brain can last long after giving the drug up.

Crystal with other drugs

HIV drugs

Protease inhibitors – especially ritonavir, but also some other drugs in this class – could cause a big, possibly fatal rise in levels of crystal in the body. This is because ritonavir slows down the metabolism of crystal which leads to high levels of the drug, making overdose more likely.

If you’re partying the weekend away on crystal, you're more likely to be late with your meds or miss them entirely.

Crystal also damages the immune system, as does going without food or sleep when you’re on it.

Ecstasy, cocaine, poppers and Viagra-type drugs

All of these drugs put your heart under strain. If you’re using crystal too you’re pushing your heart even harder. Mixing those drugs can lead to:

  • sudden spikes in blood pressure
  • chest pains
  • heart attack
  • strokes.

Anti-depressants

Taking crystal while on antidepressants can make life-threatening reactions more likely, including dangerously high blood pressure and increased risk of serotonin syndrome (the levels of serotonin in your blood becoming too high). Check with your doctor before using antidepressants and crystal at the same time.

Useful to know

Avoid injecting - it’s the quickest way to getting addicted and runs the risk of serious health problems including skin abscesses, collapsed veins, blood poisoning and heart infections.

Sharing injecting equipment puts you at a high risk of getting or passing on HIV, hepatitis C and other infections.

Using hot pipes can injure your mouth and if you share pipes it risks passing on – through tiny amounts of blood – infections such as hepatitis C and HIV.

The law

In 2007, crystal meth was reclassified as a Class A drug. Possession can mean up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Intending to supply, including giving it to your mates, can mean up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Next drug: GHB/GBL ››

Published: 10/06/2015 Next review: 10/06/2018

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