By James Bullen.
Ice, along with speed and base, is a form of the potent stimulant drug methamphetamine.
Also referred to as shabu, crystal, crystal meth or d-meth, ice is the purest and most potent form of methamphetamine. It comes as a powder or crystals that are usually snorted, injected or smoked.
The latest figures from the National Drug Survey suggest 2 per cent of Australians use methamphetamine — a figure that has not really changed much over the last decade, said Dr Nicole Lee, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute.
But about half of those who use methamphetamines say they prefer to take ice, and the number of people using ice has doubled since the last survey, Dr Lee said.
The first hour
How quickly you feel the effect of methamphetamine depends on the form, the route of administration and how much of it you use, Dr Lee said.
“Mostly people will smoke, inject or swallow a pill,” she said. Sometimes people dissolve it into alcohol or water and drink it.
“If you smoke it, it has an immediate high, just in a couple of minutes you’ll get quite a big hit. Whereas if you ingest it through your stomach it’s about 20 minutes before you start to feel the effects.”
The immediate effects from ice are intense pleasure and clarity. Users say they have lots of energy and can think clearly, feel like they can make good decisions, and plan effectively.
This is because methamphetamine dramatically increases the levels of the hormone dopamine – by up to 1,000 times the normal level – much more than any other pleasure seeking activity or drug.
Physical effects can include dilated pupils, an increased heart and breathing rate, a reduced appetite and an increased sex drive.
The next day
The effects usually last for between four and 12 hours, although methamphetamine can be detected in blood and urine for up to 72 hours.
After the effects of the drug wear off, you’ll begin to come down, sometimes up to 24 hours after you used the drug.
If you’re coming down from methamphetamine you’re likely to feel the opposite of what you feel when you’re high. So you’ll have trouble making decisions, poor concentration and difficulty planning.
You may also have headaches, blurred vision and start to feel hungry.
It’s pretty common to feel flat, depressed, jittery and anxious. You may feel exhausted and want to sleep for a day or two, although you may have difficulty sleeping, Dr Lee said.