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Methamphetamine is a strong stimulant which affects the central nervous system. Typically it is a white, odourless, bitter tasting powder. However, it comes in a variety of forms, including clear crystals (ice).
Methamphetamine is commonly known by a number of names, including 'meth', 'speed', 'crank', 'go' or in a smokable form known as 'ice'.
There are also other amphetamine type stimulants such as amphetamine (speed), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Adderil), modafinil, caffeine and BZP.
The effects of Methamphetamine depend on how much is taken, but generally users can expect to experience:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased activity
- Decreased appetite
- Sense of well-being
- Reckless or violent behaviour
A large single dose may also cause:
- Damage to nerves (particularly in the brain)
- Elevated body temperature
The long term effects of Methamphetamine use are:
- Mental and physical dependence
- Repetitive behaviours
- A variety of mental health problems including anxiety disorders (paranoia), hallucinations, dramatic mood changes and delusions
- Increasing reckless or violent behaviour
- Damage to organs, in particular heart, kidneys and liver (can also result in stroke).
- Heavy or long-term users often experience the feeling of insects creeping on or under their skin. This leads people to attempt to scratch the bugs out, cutting up their arms and body in the process.
- Intravenous drug users (people who use needles to inject drugs) also risk exposure to blood-borne diseases like hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.
Methamphetamine produces a strong psychological dependence.
Youth health centres are a good place to go for help. If you don't have one in your area, talk to an adult you trust, such as your parents, your doctor, Kaumatua or Kuia, a school counsellor or a youth worker.
Youthline is also always here to talk and help you through whatever you are going through. You can contact us on:
Free Phone 0800 37 66 33
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