"What is it?"

“Ice” is a street name for one type of methamphetamine, a class of powerfully addictive and dangerous stimulants. Developed from its parent drug - amphetamine - methamphetamine was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. It has also been prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy and chronic obesity.

Experts claim that “ice” can be up to 20 times stronger than “speed”. Methamphetamines are usually found in a powder form, easily dissolve in beverages, range in colour from white to tan, and can either be swallowed, inhaled, inserted, injected or smoked in a glass pipe.

Swallowed or snorted, methamphetamines give the user an intense high. Injections create a quick but strong intense high, called a rush or a flash.

“Crystal meth” or “ice” is the white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline, smokeable form of the drug. Smoking Ice is now the fastest growing method used in Australia. This method results in an instantaneous rush of euphoria for the user. Therefore, it is a popular drug, especially with young adults and for those who frequent dance clubs and parties.

A leading drug counsellor claims that Ice is the most destructive drug now in circulation. At least one in ten Australians tries ice and the number of young users is increasing. There are 102,600 regular Ice users in Australia. Of these regular users, three quarters (70,000 +) are dependent users and are flooding the psychiatric units at public hospitals. A National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre study found that there were 36,900 regular methamphetamine users in New South Wales.

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Common Names

  • Crank

  • Christmas tree

  • Glass

  • Crystal

  • Crystal meth

  • Speed

  • Meth

  • Chalk

Short Term Effects

Like cocaine and crack, methamphetamines and amphetamines give the user

  • The ability to stay awake and engage in continuous activity

  • A feeling of euphoria

  • Elevated heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and body temperature

  • Increased sweating

  • Headaches

  • Dilated pupils

  • Blurred vision

  • Dry mouth

  • Hot flashes

  • Dizziness

  • Reduced appetite (It is a dangerous method of weight loss)

  • Major physical changes to appearance causing rapid aging and disfigurement.

  • Rapid tooth decay known as “meth mouth”

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Long Term Effects


A prolonged use of ice may cause (or contribute to):

  • Loss of coordination

  • Collapse

  • Fever

  • Stroke

  • Heart failure

  • Confusion

  • Convulsions

  • Brain damage

  • Mental illness

  • Memory loss

  • Chronic depression

  • Violent, aggressive and irrational behaviour

  • Paranoid psychosis

  • Panic attacks

  • Delusions & hallucinations

  • Increased transmission of hepatitis and HIV/AIDS

  • Death

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The Ice Epidemic, 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 10 September 2006

http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/grow/drugs_alcohol/know_drugs_meths.html - Robert B. Lembersky, MD Feb. 2006




http://www.oehha.ca.gov/Methamphetamine Fact Sheet



Illicit Drug Data Report 2004-05, Australian Crime Commission April, 2006


Drug Advisory Council of Australia – The Ice Epidemic, 18 September 2006

Bratter, Thomas E. and Forrest, Gary G:  Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Strategies for Clinical Intervention.New York: The Free Press, 2000. p. 349

Sunday Mail, Adelaide, 29 April 2007

“Drug Information” Narconon International 2002. 17, Nov. 2004


Melbourne Herald Sun 30 October 2006

Sydney Morning Herald 28 July 2005 Page 3

Patterns and Trends of Amphetamine Stimulants and Other Drugs of Abuse in East Asia and the Pacific 2005

Melbourne Herald Sun 2 April 2007


KCI – The Anti-Meth Site:  http://www.kci.org/meth_info/meth_facts.htm

Drug Advisory Council of Australia – Sharp Rise in Drug Psychosis, 16 April 2007

Drug Advisory Council of Australia – Drug Violence, 6 November 2006


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Last updated: Tuesday, 28 January, 2014