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Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant and part of the amphetamine family. It is used recreationally for its potent euphoric effects and its aphrodisiac qualities. It comes in several different forms including tablets, white powder or crystals. The crystal form (commonly referred to as crystal meth or ice) is extremely powerful and highly addictive.

Methamphetamine is commonly cut with other stimulants such as caffeine and ephedrine and bulking agents such as sugars, starch powders, laxatives and talcum powder. These reduce the purity of the drug and increase the profit for the dealer.

Immediately after smoking or injecting methamphetamine the user experiences an intense rush similar to that produced by crack cocaine. The effects can last much longer than those from crack cocaine, between 4 and 12 hours, during which time the user is not in control.

Heavy and regular users of the drug may suffer tooth loss and decay, a condition known as 'meth mouth'. It can also result in psychosis or lead to post-acute-withdrawal syndrome.



Dabbed onto the gums, mixed into drinks, or rolled up in a cigarette paper and swallowed.



Prepared to make a solution for injecting.



The crystal form of methamphetamine is vaporised and the resulting fumes inhaled. This is normally done using a glass pipe, however it can also be smoked off foil, which is heated underneath by a flame whilst the fumes are inhaled through a tube. This is called "chasing the white dragon".



Divided into lines and snorted up the nose.

  • Powerful stimulant
  • Alert and energised
  • Agitated, paranoid, confused and aggressive
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nausea
  • Jaw clenching
  • Panic attacks
  • Addictive
  • Increases heart rate and raises blood pressure so increasing risk of heart attack
  • Psychosis
  • Brain damage through long term use
  • Lowering of inhibitions and raising of libido leading to unsafe sex
  • Mixing methamphetamine with alcohol can have unpredictable effects

Risks from injecting:

  • Overdosing
  • Damage to veins and arteries
  • Ulceration and gangrene
  • Contracting a blood borne virus (if sharing needles)
Methamphetamine crystals


Molecular structure of methamphetamine

Street Names

crystal meth, yaba, meth, ice, speed, glass, zip, crazy medicine

Legal Status

Class A Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to seven years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to life imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.