Also called meth, ice, crystal, speed, base, goey, fast, whizz, shabu

Understanding Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, which means that it increases brain activity and intensifies the messages between the brain and the body. 

What does it look like?

  • Crystals - Crystal methamphetamine or “ice” 
  • Paste - Base 
  • Powder - Speed
How is it used?
  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • Swallowed
  • Injected
What are the possible short-term effects?

People commonly use methamphetamine to feel euphoric and to increase energy, alertness and confidence. Other short-term effects include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

People who inject are at higher risk of additional harms such as:

  • Blood-borne viruses
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Damage to the circulatory system
  • Increased likelihood of overdose

Methamphetamine affects people differently depending on a range of factors including how strong it is, how much is consumed, whether it is used with other drugs, and the individual characteristics of the person. It is important to know that there is no safe level of use.

While all forms of methamphetamine can cause harm, people who use ‘crystal methamphetamine’ or ‘ice’ tend to experience more problems sooner than those who use other forms of the drug.

What are the possible long-term effects?
  • Weight loss
  • Dental problems
  • Organ damage
  • Agitation
  • Mental health problems (including persistent psychotic symptoms)

People who have pre-existing mental health conditions are more likely to experience:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
What are the signs of a methamphetamine problem?
  • Spending a great deal of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects 
  • Using in greater amounts, or for longer than originally planned
  • Needing to use more to get the same effect
  • Having cravings, difficulties stopping/reducing use
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Social problems including relationship issues, financial problems, impacts on study or work and legal problems
Thinking about cutting back or stopping?

Withdrawal symptoms may be unpleasant, but will lessen over time. Common withdrawal symptoms include low mood, poor sleep, cravings, and irritability.

Sometimes it can take a few attempts to cut back or stop.

  • Focus on reasons for cutting down or stopping
  • Avoid ‘triggers’ (i.e. things associated with using such as places, people and stressful situations)
  • Ask a friend, family member or health professional for support
Methamphetamine use and pregnancy

Using methamphetamine while pregnant is linked to higher rates of miscarriage, premature delivery, birth defects and other complications. People who are concerned about their methamphetamine use while pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their doctor or health professional.

What help is available?

Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support is a 24 hour, 7 day a week confidential support service for people in Queensland with alcohol and other drug concerns, their loved ones and health professionals. 

Talk to us. Anytime, anywhere.

1800 177 833

What should I do in an emergency?

Signs of a methamphetamine overdose may include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid increase in body temperature
  • Irregular breathing
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic
  • Aggression
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If the person has collapsed or lost consciousness, call an ambulance on triple zero (000).  If they have stopped breathing commence CPR.  If they are breathing normally, place them into the recovery position.


Adis - Understanding Methamphetamine Fact Sheet

Adis fact sheet about methamphetamine, also known as meth, ice, crystal, speed, base, goey, fast, whizz, shabu.

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