Crystal Meth

Drug Class:
Individual drugs:
Crystal methamphetamine.
Common Terms:
Crank, crystal, ice, jib, meth, speed, Tina.
Standard Dose:
  • Crystal is typically sold as clear crystals in small baggies.
  • It is typically snorted in small bumps, or smoked from a glass pipe.
  • More recently in Toronto, crystal has been sold in pill format as pills that look similar to ecstasy. They are typically brightly coloured pills (like the colour of Smarties®), might have a fruity smell/taste and are sometimes called Yaba.
  • Meth can also be swallowed, injected, and hooped/booty bumped (placed up the ass). There are risks and benefits to different methods of taking the drug:

Swallowing: Slower come-on (high), which avoids the initial euphoric 'rush' you get with other ways of using crystal meth. Given the slower rush, you might take more to get that feeling. There is no real risk of tissue damage by using crystal this way.

Snorting: You can get little cuts in your nose and pass blood between the people you share with, putting you at risk of transmitting or contracting HIV and/or Hepatitis. Avoid sharing bumpers, bills or straws used for snorting. The come-on (high) is faster when snorting and you might keep snorting to maintain the euphoric buzz.

Smoking: A more euphoric rush, making the comedown rougher and increasing your desire to do more. Smoking damages your lungs and can dry out your mouth and lips, making it easier to get chapped lips or to burn them on a hot pipe. Use lip balm and avoid sharing pipes.

Booty Bump (sticking it up your ass): This damages inside of your rectum (ass), increasing your risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis or other infections if you're getting fucked.

Injecting: Avoid sharing needles and other equipment. If you have a new batch (even from the same dealer), try a little first to make sure it's not too strong. It's safer to inject into vein than into muscle or under skin; these last 2 methods have higher risk for abscesses and infections and can be very painful.

The effects can last up to 24 hours. Doses are typically repeated every 3 - 8 hours to stay awake, or every 30 minutes to 4 hours to remain high.
The Buzz:
    · When snorted the effects come on gradually and peak after about 15 - 30 minutes.
    · When injected, the effects are felt immediately and much more intensely.
    · Crystal is a stimulant drug with effects similar to cocaine but much longer lasting.
    · Effects while high: euphoria; increased confidence, alertness, talkativeness and horniness; dehydration (especially with dancing or sex); decreased appetite.
    · It causes a sudden increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.
    · After the high, you may "crash" (feel depressed) and sleep for a long time.
Overdose and other negative effects:
    · The intense high can lead to an unpleasant comedown which can in turn lead a user to take more.
    · In high doses, crystal can lead to seizures, strokes, heart attacks or difficulty breathing (even in experienced users).
    · After effects can include depression, agitation, anxiety and paranoia.
    · Repeated snorting can damage the nasal membranes.
    · Many users can become compulsive in their use of crystal which can lead to physical or psychological addiction.
    · Difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection.
    · Jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
    · Tooth loss and gum disease. Meth constricts blood vessels (tightens them) and less blood flows to some areas of the body. With less blood flowing to your gums, you risk developing problems with your gums and teeth.
Dangerous Drug Combinations:
  • Viagra®: Meth raises blood pressure; Viagra® lowers it. Combining them can increase your risk of a stroke.
  • Other stimulants: Drugs like ecstasy, or coke, are also stimulants. Combining stimulants can push your body too far; this creates a risk of overheating, your heart having to work too hard, and could result in a stroke.
  • Heart and blood pressure medications: Increases the strain on you heart and blood vessels, risking a stroke or heart attack.
  • Anti-depressants: These drugs work on the same neurotransmitters and can cause overstimulation in these brain systems.
  • Downer drugs: Drugs like alcohol or GHB work by slowing the body down; meth speeds the body up. These conflicting signals can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
HIV Medications & Crystal Meth
  • Intergrase Inhibitors: Elvitegravir /Cobicistat/TDF/FTC (Stribild) increase the amount of any amphetamine including meth, E/MDMA, and Speed in your system. This can result in a longer and more intense crash (hangover) period.
  • Toxic agents in meth can increase HIV viral load. Be mindful of your viral load if doing Tina, especially if this is one of your primary safer sex strategies.
  • This combination can exacerbate high blood pressure, heart or liver problems.
  • Make sure you plan eating for HIV meds that need to be taken with food. It is easy to forget to take meds when on crystal. Make sure you take them, or create a system to remind yourself.
  • The combination of the toxic ingredients in crystal meth, and the insomnia it can cause, can have a negative impact on your immune system increasing viral load. If using crystal meth regularly, monitor your viral load.
  • If injecting crystal, use new, unused syringes as HIV and Hep C are easily spread through shared injection gear. Prepare for injection on a clean surface. Use ascorbic acid to dissolve your drug for injection. You can get unused injection drug gear through any site associated with The Works through Toronto Public Health.