You can trust people who use crystal meth

What is crystal meth?

Meth, crystal, ice, speed - there are many street names for crystal meth, and they all refer to one substance: methamphetamine. Chemically, the drug is closely related to amphetamines, both of which have a stimulating effect. Meth is sniffed, smoked, or injected dissolved in water. The material was able to spread rapidly in a few years, also because it is so easy to manufacture. Laboratories in Eastern Europe, Asia and Mexico produce the drug from easy-to-find raw materials, such as pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cough suppressants. Small laboratories in private households also "cook" the drug.

How does crystal meth work?

Meth can easily cross the so-called blood-brain barrier and therefore works particularly well in the brain. The drug releases more neurotransmitters, especially dopamine. The nervous system is activated and the heart rate increases. In addition, the blood circulation in the body is promoted, the eyes widen. Consumers experience a so-called "flash" or "rush", they get hot, they feel sudden euphoria and lightness. Consumers' self-confidence is growing, and many feel invincible. Crystal works in the body for between four and ten hours, sometimes even for over a day, depending on the concentration and quality. As with other drugs, the basic activity of the body decreases after the intoxication, and users experience a so-called "comedown". Addicts experience this as painful - the desire for the drug increases.

What are the consequences of crystal for the body?

Methylamphetamine has significant side effects. Consumers do not feel tired or hungry for a long time, they do not sleep, eat or drink. The drug also suppresses pain. In the long term, many addicts suffer from insomnia, depression and delusions. Many long-term consumers lose weight a lot. The loss of fluid makes the skin dry and gray, and tooth decay and tooth loss are typical crystal damage. Since the drug is metabolized through the kidneys, long-term use can lead to kidney damage. The side effects of the drug unrestrained are injuries and infections, especially with HIV. In the event of an overdose, sudden drops in blood pressure, which can be fatal, are possible.

Who uses crystal meth and where is the drug common?

In Germany, reliable data on the distribution of the drug are so far rare. A survey of 400 drug users on behalf of the German government showed that meth users mainly live near the Czech border, where the drug is produced cheaply. Crystal meth is said to be particularly widespread in the north of the Free State of Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia and partly also Saxony-Anhalt. First and foremost, crystal is consumed at parties, and every second person uses the drug to freak out at work and at home. A quarter of the respondents already take the crystals at school or another training facility. For 15 percent, crystal is the first illegal drug, 40 percent have previously consumed cannabis. According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, one in 30 adults in the EU tries at least once to get high with amphetamines. First-time consumers are on average 19 years old.