Crystal meth

Meth is big over the pond, but it’s actually gaining popularity here as well. People want the highest of highs, and meth can provide that. As a result, more and more young people are choosing to smoke, snort or swallow the crystals to get buzzed (or maybe more) but is it worth it? These uppers are SUPER addictive and potentially lethal, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. We’re here to crack the crystal and show you what’s inside.

A young, blonde woman is sitting at a desktop. She is wearing a mask. She is researching Crystal Meth. This is a wide-angle image.

What is crystal meth? 

Crystal meth is a strong stimulant and type of amphetamine, meaning it affects your central nervous system and makes you feel really happy. Users can develop a meth addiction fairly easily, and it’s no joke. It makes people pick their skin off. Not to mention the violent hallucinations, paranoia and teeth-loss.

Its chemical name is ‘methamphetamine’, but it’s more commonly called crystal meth because it comes in white crystals, or sometimes white powder. It’s pretty easy for wannabe scientists/dealers to cook up in makeshift laboratories, but is often cut with all kinds of crap too.

How and why do you take crystal meth? 

Crystal meth is usually smoked in a similar way to crack cocaine. It can also be swallowed, snorted or injected. In terms of the reasons why people do it, well, it can make you feel pretty damn good: 

  • It makes you more alert, so much so that you don’t sleep for ages
  • People feel a range of good emotions, from mild happiness to total and complete euphoria
  • You want to have loads of sex, and it lowers all your inhibitions, so you’re confident enough to go fulfil that desire
  • It makes you really talkative and sociable… and did we mention talkative? Like, you literally can’t stop talking… you just keep saying stuff…like whatever comes to mind…oh zebra…

What are the bad side effects of meth?  


As good as it makes you feel in the moment , there are still major risks to taking meth. Here are a few: 

  • A burning feeling in your nose if you snort
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, and a soaring temperature
  • Becoming short of breath and breathing fast
  • A crazy sleeping pattern, with hallucinations from lack of sleep
  • Meth users often pick at their skin, to the point of bleeding, as crystal meth causes itching and the sensation of insects crawling on the skin (lovely, we know)
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea


Meth can also really mess with your long-term health. Just google ‘before and after meth’ pictures if you don’t believe us. Long-term problems include:

  • You experience a huge amount of weight loss and can become severely malnourished, which makes your skin sallow and gaunt
  • Really bad tooth decay – they basically rot and fall out of your mouth a.k.a meth mouth
  • Itchy skin with skin sores. People often pick at these which can cause infections
  • Kidney infections and problems with your liver
  • Irrevocable damage to your immune system and metabolism
  • Smoking it can provide an increases risk of damage to  your lungs and snorting it can potentially damage your nose
  • If you have a meth addiction and choose to go drug free, the withdrawal symptoms are brutal and can last a while 

How long does it take to have an effect? 

If you smoke or snort crystal meth the effects come on immediately and last six to eight hours. If you swallow it, it takes up to half an hour to kick-in, and then you’ll feel the effects for 12 hours.

What’s the comedown like? 

It’s pretty gnarly. Your inability to sleep can really get to you after a while. It’s common to feel edgy and paranoid. Some people even get irritable, violent, depressed, and even suicidal. More than anything, you have to fight the urge to just take more meth to make it all go away. Try and have a friend around to help you through it, because the day after a high is going to be rough. 

To find out more about coping with comedowns, read our article.

Is crystal meth addictive?  

Meth is really, really addictive. You build up a tolerance to it, so the amount you take to get the same effect increases over time. It’s also worth mentioning that smoking or injecting meth makes it more addictive because it enters your bloodstream more quickly.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling with a crystal meth addiction, or any other type of addiction, you can find out more about it here. You can also contact our confidential, free support services to get some advice. Just know, you’re never in this alone. There’s so many options for addiction treatment, support groups or just a chat. Whatever it is, we’re here to help.

Is it OK to mix meth? 

Mixing meth with alcohol is a big no, as they both put pressure on your heart, so together they can kill you. Taking meth with other drugs, like cocaine, is potentially fatal too. Antidepressants and meth are out of the question as well . Especially antidepressants that contain monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) as this can create a really dangerous reaction in the body. 

To find out more about mixing drugs, click here. 

Can crystal meth cause mental health problems? 

If you use a lot of meth, over a long period of time, you can develop pretty serious psychosis, similar to schizophrenia. This causes you to suffer from horrifying hallucinations and paranoia, and may even get violent.

If you have schizophrenic tendencies there are real dangers – even the mildest use of crystal meth could push you over the edge. Having any family history of mental illness can lead to really bad trips. So, if that’s you, we strongly recommend staying away from the stuff and prioritising your mental health. 

Can you overdose on meth? 

Yes. An overdose can damage your liver, intestines and kidney. It can cause a stroke or put you in a coma. And, yep, you can OD and actually die on meth too. – especially if you have a crystal meth addiction. You can find out more about overdosing by reading our article.

How can I reduce the risks if I take meth?

  • Only take a little to begin with. You can never tell how pure a batch is (and therefore what it’ll do to you) until you’ve had some.
  • If you’re using crystal meth over long periods of time you’re advised to take multi-vitamin and calcium supplements, as well as keeping a check on your body weight.
  • Avoid injecting crystal meth. This can damage your body and sharing needles can pass on diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.
  • If meth gets you feeling all aroused, use a condom
  • Don’t take meth if you’re on retroviral drugs, i.e. for HIV. Meth can stop them working properly.

What if I get caught with crystal meth? 

Well, it’s a class A drug, meaning it’s one of the hardest and most dangerous ones you could do. The maximum sentence for Class A, according to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, is seven years and a fine for possession. Things get more serious if they suspect you had intent to distribute, then you’re looking at a potential life sentence. For more information on being caught with drugs, read our article here.

Next Steps

  • Release offers free and confidential advice on everything to do with drugs and drugs law. 0845 4500 215
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


drugs a-z

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 04-Sep-2021