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Last updated : November 16, 2018
Crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It’s stronger, more addictive and therefore has more harmful side effects than the powder form of methamphetamine known as speed.1
Ice usually comes as small chunky clear crystals that look like ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder with a strong smell and bitter taste.1
Crystal meth, shabu, crystal, glass, shard, P.1,2
Ice is generally smoked (feel the effect almost immediately) or injected (15 to 30 seconds to feel the effects). It is sometimes swallowed (15 to 20 minutes to feel the effects) or snorted (3 to 5 minutes to feel the effects).3
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
The effects of ice can last for up to 12 hours 2, but it might be hard to sleep for a few days after using the drug.
Ice affects everyone differently, but effects may include:
If injecting drugs there is an increased risk of:
If sharing needles there is an increased risk of:
Snorting ice can damage the nasal passage and cause nose bleeds.
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose. If you or someone you know is having any of the symptoms below, call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police.
It can take several days to come down from using ice. The following effects may be experienced during this time:
With regular use, ice may eventually cause:
High doses of ice and frequent use may cause ‘ice psychosis’. This condition is characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and bizarre, aggressive or violent behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using ice.1,4
People who regularly use ice can quickly become dependent on the drug. They may feel they need ice to go about their normal activities like working, studying and socialising, or just to get through the day.1,5
Some people who regularly use ice may start to feel less enjoyment of everyday activities. They can get stressed easily and their moods can go up and down quite quickly. These changes can lead to longer-term problems with anxiety and depression. People may feel these effects for at least several weeks or months after they give up ice.8
The effects of taking ice with other drugs − including over-the-counter or prescribed medications − can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
Giving up ice after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms generally settle down after a week and will mostly disappear after a month. Symptoms can include: