Perhaps the best-known danger linked to crystal or any other form of speed is speed or toxic psychosis. Symptoms -“ including hallucinations, panic, and paranoia -“ can involve irrational, even violent behaviour. Toxic psychosis, similar to paranoid schizophrenia or delusional states, can result from heavy use either short-term or long-term. Since psychosis is related to high blood levels of methamphetamine, it often clears within a week after stopping use. However, some symptoms may persist for weeks or months. Researchers think that long-lasting episodes may be caused by damage to dopamine-producing structures in the brain.
Smoking methamphetamine or crystal through a glass pipe is regarded as one of the most efficient ways to take the drug because so little of the drug is lost, leaving it quite concentrated. However, this high level of concentration increases the risk of overdose because the user can be unaware of the toxic effects being produced. The drug is consumed much faster by smoking (taking approximately three seconds to reach the brain) than by other methods. The problem with smoking meth is that it hits the user’s brain so quickly that they wouldn’t even realise if they’ve overdosed.
Methamphetamine is so biologically appealing that animals will choose to receive meth over fulfilling basic needs such as eating, sleeping, and reproducing. The potential for addiction is enormous and immediate. After some time has elapsed, the user could experience toxic effects. Sweating, shaking, temperature increases, dry mouth and headaches often accompany these effects.
The effects of the drug may last from four to six hours for a single dose, with repeated doses lasting much longer. Although entering the bloodstream rapidly, large doses may be excreted into the urine, unchanged, up to 72 hours after ingestion. The continued use of methamphetamine can cause the body to deplete its stored energy. This lack of sleep or rest prevents the replenishment of these reserves. Insomnia is usually followed by sleeping for long periods of time.
The drug tends to overtax the body and causes the body to literally burn itself up. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common due to inadequate nutrition as the user keeps pushing beyond what the body can tolerate, which may lead to a rapid and noticeable loss of weight. There is lowered resistance to disease and prolonged use will cause damage to organs, particularly to the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Crystal smoking is also believed to cause the same sorts of lung damage seen in crack smokers.
The increase in the popularity of crystal in Sydney’s gay community is of great concern. This is a substance that has caused great problems in many parts of the world but is still regarded by many as a bit of fun and a great sex drug. It can cause great health problems and potential users need to be aware of the risks before they start playing around with a drug that they can suddenly find taking over their lives.
Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug, and no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?