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All About Meth

Crystal meth, meth, speed, crank, ice, glass, or Tina are all interchangeable names for methamphetamine. Meth belongs to a family of drugs called amphetamines—powerful stimulants that speed up the body's central nervous system.

Meth comes in two forms: powder and crystals. High-grade crystals are semi-transparent and sheet-like. In powder form the color should be white. If the crystals or powder have a colored hue, this indicates the presence of impurities. Meth is odorless and extremely bitter tasting. Crystals are often sold by the quarter-gram in a small plastic baggies, and range in price depending on availability and where in the world you live.

Meth can be taken in one of five ways: snorted, swallowed, smoked, injected, or booty bumped (inserted in the ass). The crystals or powder may be crushed finely and snorted up the nose. Often straws, "bumpers" (plastic containers with a valve), and rolled bills are used for this purpose. The powder can be dissolved and mixed in drinks, injected into a vein with a syringe ("shooting" or "slamming"), or squirted up the ass ("booty bumping"). In tablet form, meth is simply swallowed or "parachuted" with a drink.  In its crystal form it can be heated up and smoked in a glass pipe often called a bubble.

What it's like?

In general, meth makes you feel alert, energetic, confident and euphoric. Meth can be a powerful antidepressant and aphrodisiac. In a sexual context, gay and bi men can also feel extremely horny, driven for sexual release, and often submissive. You may feel little need for food or sleep when high, and people often use for days on end, so dehydration, malnutrition and lack of sleep are major factors related to the harms associated with continued use.

Immediately after smoking meth or injecting it into a vein, the user experiences an immediate and intense surge of euphoria, or rush. This rush can be temporarily debilitating or result in an overdose, especially when slammed. Snorting meth, or putting it up your ass, produces effects within 3 – 5 minutes. The rush from smoking or booty bumps is less intense. Swallowing meth in pill form or mixed in juice or an energy drink has an onset of 15 – 30 minutes. This will make you high but with a diminished rush.

The Science

Meth changes your brain chemistry in significant ways. Meth is a strong central nervous system stimulant. It dramatically increases levels of dopamine, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) associated with pleasure and movement. The excess of dopamine produces intense subjective sensations of euphoria, well being, sexual desire, and confidence. Dopamine is also involved in the reward center of the brain and acts as a behavior reinforcer, which makes just about everything someone does on meth seem enjoyable.

When meth is slammed (injected) or smoked, the initial effects of the drug last about 3 – 7 hours. When taken orally it may last 5 – 12 hours. Snorting or booty bumping may last 4 – 10 hours. Residual drug can stay in the body for up to 5 days.

Meth use interrupts the body's normal production and maintenance of dopamine levels. The flooding of dopamine caused by meth is followed by a crash (a depletion of dopamine). The more often people use, the more difficult it is for the brain to stabilize dopamine production. This is why depressed mood, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), fatigue, and even suicidal thoughts can all be part of the come down.

Using It

It's worth pointing out that most guys choose not to use meth. Sometimes this is because guys have no interest in it. Sometimes this is because guys know how dangerous meth can be, and they don't think the risks are worth it. So what are the risks? Aside from the racing heart rate, you can damage the small veins in your brain, and the risk of having a stroke increases. Overdoses, though not as common with meth as with some other drugs, can lead to convulsions and even death. Unexpected bursts of violent behavior are not uncommon, especially with someone experiencing delusions from lack of sleep and not eating. Long periods of depression and isolation from friends are also very common with those who chronically use meth.

But we're realists and know that some people will use meth, and that's why we are here. If you decide to use meth, we want you to be as safe as you can be. We want to help you reduce the risks and avoid contracting HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), STDs, or experiencing other harms associated with meth use.

We know people use meth for a variety of compelling reasons. You do it to party. You do it because you're offered it. You do it because you're curious. You do it because you're bored. You do it for the rush. You do it because it's taboo. You do it because you're depressed. You do it because you think it improves your productivity. You do it to lose weight. You do it to boost your self-esteem. You do it to fit in. You do it to cope with the stress of a new job, moving, racism, homophobia or HIV. You do it because it enhances your sex life. You do it because it's the best high you've ever had.

You may also find that you are way more willing to take risks when you are using meth that you wouldn't normally take. Using meth isn't cheap, and you may find yourself suffering financially if your use begins to be a regular part of your life. Meth can cause damage to most of the major organs—your liver, your brain, and your heart. Luckily for us, the human body is amazing and even small breaks from using can go a long way in improving one's health.

Click HERE to learn about other ways of reducing harm while using.