1. What do you think are the immediate and long-term negative effects of yourdrug use?2. How do these negative effects compare to the desired effects you experience?3. Can you see any advantages to reducing your current drug use?
Crystal methamphetamine (“crystal meth”, “jib”, “ice”, “chalk”, “fire”) is a street drugthat has increased significantly in popularity throughout British Columbia over the pastseveral years, especially in youth and young adults. It is cheap and easy to find, as itcan be made in simple home laboratories (although often what is sold on the streets ascrystal meth is not pure methamphetamine but a mix of drugs).“Crystal meth” is a potent stimulant. It creates a tremendous rush, or powerful feeling,and increases energy and activity. There is also an increased sexual drive, which canresult in prolonged sex and an increased risk of HIV. “Crystal meth” can be smoked,ingested, snorted, or injected. It can also have other effects like agitation, paranoia,confusion and violence. Grinding of teeth and obsessive picking at one’s body arephysical signs of use. These acute effects can last anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.Withdrawal effects include anxiety and depression, and feeling “sketchy”.The more a person uses ‘crystal meth’, the more they crave it, making it very difficult toquit. Continued use can result in rapid weight loss and malnourishment. Longer-termuse of “crystal meth” can have a serious impact on the brain’s ability to processinformation, and can even result in structural changes to the brain. It can also lead tothe development of a psychotic condition that is difficult to treat.It is estimated that 10-20% of “crystal meth” abusers develop psychosis. Typicalsymptoms include paranoia and auditory hallucinations, which cannot be distinguishedfrom other psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The onset of psychosis often occurs gradually with continued use but can sometimes occur suddenlyeven in very little use. Using ‘crystal meth’ can trigger the psychosis, but that doesn’tnecessarily mean that the psychosis will end when the drug use stops. The psychosismay continue on even after quitting.
Hints to reducing use or risk of harm
Reducing drug use is not simply a matter of willpower. Effectively reducing drug userequires setting goals and solving problems.It is the desired effects that give a person the urge to continue use. Most people findthat these urges are triggered by certain feelings (such as stress, boredom, depressionor anxiety) or situations (such as being with friends who use regularly or being at aparty where it is encouraged). By recognizing and anticipating what feelings or