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Things to know about crystal

The down side of crystal meth

Crystal increases your body temperature, heart beat and blood pressure – possibly to dangerous levels – with the risk of heart attack, stroke, coma or death.

The comedown can leave you feeling exhausted, aggressive and paranoid, in some cases even suicidal. You can also develop stomach problems such as acid reflux or gastritis due to not eating for a long period of time.

Depending on how you take crystal meth, it can also damage the lungs, nose and mouth.

The drug’s bad reputation is warranted by the many casualties it’s caused on the gay scene in America and Australia, and increasingly now in the UK.

Long-term use

Tolerance to crystal meth builds up quickly and users need more to get the same high. The drug has a reputation for being quickly addictive.

Many who party with Tina have waved goodbye to jobs, homes, money, boyfriends, friends and health (including their teeth).

Even hardened gay scene party animals who can control their use of other drugs have found themselves out of their depth with crystal. It can become hard to think of having sex without being on meth and – like G and mephedrone – it can have a big impact on your ability to have sex sober.

Using crystal long-term can get scary: we’re talking psychosis or lasting mental health problems, even after quitting the drug.

Quitting crystal is very hard and its effects on the brain can last long after giving the drug up.

Useful to know

Avoid injecting – it’s the quickest way to getting addicted and runs the risk of serious health problems including skin abscesses, collapsed veins, blood poisoning and heart infections.

Sharing injecting equipment puts you at a high risk of getting or passing on HIV, hepatitis C and other infections.

Using hot pipes can injure your mouth and if you share pipes it risks passing on – through tiny amounts of blood – infections such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Mixing drugs

HIV drugs

Protease inhibitors – especially ritonavir, but also some other drugs in this class – could cause a big, possibly fatal rise in levels of crystal in the body. This is because ritonavir slows down the metabolism of crystal which leads to high levels of the drug, making overdose more likely.

If you’re partying the weekend away on crystal, you’re more likely to be late with your meds or miss them entirely.

Crystal also damages the immune system, as does going without food or sleep when you’re on it.

Ecstasy, cocaine, poppers and Viagra-type drugs

All of these drugs put your heart under strain. If you’re using crystal too you’re pushing your heart even harder. Mixing those drugs can lead to:

  • sudden spikes in blood pressure
  • chest pains
  • heart attack
  • strokes.


Taking crystal while on antidepressants can make life-threatening reactions more likely, including dangerously high blood pressure and increased risk of serotonin syndrome (the levels of serotonin in your blood becoming too high). Check with your doctor before using antidepressants and crystal at the same time.

The law

In 2007, crystal meth was reclassified as a Class A drug. Possession can mean up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Intending to supply, including giving it to your mates, can mean up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Last review: 24/08/2018
Next review: 24/08/2021