Methamphetamine is known by the streets names ‘meth’, ‘ice’, ‘crystal’, ‘crank’ and ‘yaabaa’, (Thai for ‘crazy pills’) and ‘shabbu’.
Methamphetamine (methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine) is powerful stimulant drug, related to amphetamine. First synthesized by Japanese chemists in the late 19th century, the substance saw its first widespread application in WW2, when it was prescribed to German military personnel under the trade name Pervitin.
Methamphetamine was prescribed as a slimming aid and to counter narcolepsy in the 1960s; its illicit recreational use first became as a alternative to the licensing of cocaine in 1967.Since then there have been sporadic warnings about methamphetamine epidemics, which have failed to develop in the anticipated fashion. Meth can be produced from ingredients in readily available products, though the production process may be hazardous. In the UK, it usually comes in the form of crystalline whitish powder, although colorant may be added and pills also appear.
The drug can be taken orally or snorted, but is often smoked or injected, and these methods, which accelerate the onset of the drug’s effects, are most likely to produce dependence. Meth has very strong dependence potential. Smoking and injecting produce the intense rush characteristic of the drug; euphoria, energy, talkativeness and heightened libido are experienced, while panic, obsessions, profuse sweating, jaw-grinding and sexual recklessness are also associated. Long term use is extremely debilitating.
Methamphetamine is a Class A, schedule 2 drug. It is an offence to possess, supply or produce methamphetamine.
Possession of Class A drugs carries a maximum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment and/or fine. Trafficking offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine.
Free, confidential information and advice is available by calling the Release Drugs Helpline on 0845 45 00 215