Methamphetamine (aka meth, crystal meth, or ice) is a powerful stimulant known for its euphoric and energy-boosting effects. Meth comes in several forms, but when found illicitly, it is most commonly an odorless powder that can be snorted or liquified for injection, or a more potent version that resembles crystal or glass.
Crystal meth or ice has some differences compared to other types of street methamphetamine, namely its strength and appearance. Although we are essentially referring to the same substance, crystal meth is explicitly found as a solid and is rock- or ice-like, typically smoked using a pipe or other apparatus, and generally elicits more intense effects.
Why is this important? Being able to identify the differences between types of meth is essential when considering the risks and potential consequences of each that individuals who abuse this drug may incur. Meth’s various forms, which also include pills and an oily, brownish-yellow substance referred to as “base,” alter the way it is administered and its effects on the brain and body.
These different types of meth have varying purity and potency levels, but any form can be linked with severe long-term consequences, including overdose.
What Is the Ice Drug?
Ice is commonly manufactured in chemical super labs that can preserve its potency with few additives, but it can also be produced in clandestine at-home labs by regular individuals. Ice is believed to be more addictive than other forms and induces an extended high that can be experienced as long as 24 hours after use.
Because ice is the purest form of meth available, the strength and duration of effects often make it especially desirable to abuse by persons seeking an intense high. Unfortunately, it also has an extremely high risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose.
Differences in Effects and Risks
Meth use can produce a ‘rush,’ or intense and rapid feelings of euphoria and a burst of energy. However, using meth in different forms can alter some of the effects. Moreover, as the purest form of meth, ice can amplify effects, and they can last considerably longer. Using speed or base will still produce a high but may not be as fast-acting or powerful.
The form and route by which meth has been commonly administered also lead to different risks. For example, meth with shorter-acting effects can promote binge pattern use and an increased risk of addiction. Conversely, those who ingest pills may be more likely to overdose if they take them in excess due to impatience with delayed effects.
Smoking crystal meth can result in lung problems, and injecting meth is associated with track marks, sores, and infections similar to those evidenced by heroin abuse. Persons who snort meth can incur damage to the septum and surrounding nasal tissues, the effects of which can be severe and irreversible even with surgical reconstruction.
Ultimately, it’s critical to understand that there is no safe way to use meth, but each form of the drug and its administration method carries unique risks. Meth is linked with severe long-term consequences, such as oral health, mental and emotional issues, psychotic symptoms, and overdose.
What Causes Meth Overdoses?
An overdose occurs when an individual ingests or is exposed to a potentially toxic substance and experiences adverse effects as the drug interacts with the brain and body. Complications related to a meth overdose can be severe, and in rare cases, can include death.
Statistics show that meth-related fatalities can occur when the affected individual experiences heatstroke, ultimately leading to multiple organ failure. A meth overdose can also produce a sharp spike in blood pressure that results in hemorrhage and also liver failure.
Overdose Signs and Symptoms
Because meth is most commonly found illicitly and subject to a variety of production variables, a person who abuses it can never be sure of the drug’s strength or purity. Common symptoms of a meth overdose include the following:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rate
- Breathing difficulties
- Psychotic symptoms
- Rapid or slow heartbeat
- Hyperthermia (overheating)
An overdose related to meth or other intoxicating substances is considered a medical emergency, and 911 should be contacted immediately.
Getting Professional Treatment for Addiction
Meth or ice drug addiction is a potentially devastating condition that can lead to severe, adverse health outcomes and tremendous strain on interpersonal relationships. Fortunately, meth abuse is very treatable and can be effectively treated using medical detox and a long-term, comprehensive rehab program.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer an integrated approach to addiction treatment also intended to address all aspects of a person’s health and well-being. Therapeutic methodologies and services we offer include the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- 12-step program support
- Individual/family counseling
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Art and music therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Aftercare planning