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Article written and provided by The Wave Clinic

The Wave Clinic is a rehab centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that specialises in rehab for teens & young adults between the ages of 15 and 30 years old.

Methamphetamine or Crystal Methamphetamine

(Also known as ICE or Meth) use has tripled in Australia in the past 5 years.   Users claim it is now easier to obtain than cannabis in many areas.  In fact Australia ranks 2nd in the world (just behind Slovakia) in the consumption, production and use of methamphetamines.

How does Ice effect users?

Ice or Crystal Methamphetamine is a member of the class of drugs, known as stimulants.  It is usually stronger than the powder form of the drug, more addictive and ultimately more dangerous.
Ice speeds up the signals in the brain traveling to the body producing a euphoric but short lived high.
Young people and teenagers report feeling:
  • More confident.
  • Their pleasure centre is more receptive.
  • Feeling invincible and like they can challenge the world.
  • Full of energy and excitement
  • Increased sexual feelings, awareness, desire and activity.
It can also have the following unpleasant effects:
  • Dry mouth and teeth grinding (which may last for several hours or days)
  • Loss of  appetite, weight loss, not able to eat.
  • Enlarged pupils.
  • Increased heart and respiratory rates.
  • Agitated, angry or even violent.
  • Memory black outs.
  • Chest pain.
  • Jerky movements.
  • Confusion.
  • Dental issues, gum issues, tooth loss.

How is Crystal Meth made?

The rise in ICE use by teenagers and young adults is contributed to the relative ease of obtaining the drug together with the low cost and potency. Indeed many young ICE users will explain that they were literally hooked at the first use.
Methamphetamine is an incredibly powerful stimulant which can be made in small, illegal or home based laboratories. The production of ice is illegal in Australia. Usually made by cooking or mixing amphetamines (another drug in the stimulant family) with dangerous, toxic and corrosive substances such as fuel, lighter fluid, battery acid and extra strong household products.  Drain cleaner and sink unblocker is often utilized in the production of ice.
Young people can quickly become intoxicated from the process of ‘cooking’, disorientated and confused. The production can escalate often in family homes or student apartments.

Does Meth have any other names?

Crystal Methamphetamine is often referred to by the street name ‘ICE‘. This is  due to the crystalline structure which looks similar to crushed ice. It is also referred to a meth, glass, crystal, and in some parts of South East Asia ‘Shabu’.

How is ice used by addicts?

The term ICE may leave users confused about the extreme potency of this drug. Crystal Methamphetamine with 57% of users preferring crystal to others forms of methamphetamines or amphetamines.
Ice is usually smoked, this gives the young person a ‘hit’ or ‘high’ that is almost instant.  It can be injected, swallowed or snorted. Smoking ice is usually the preferred means of administration.
It can looked like shards of ice or crushed ice or it can appear as a white, off white or brown tinged powder with a very bitter taste and pungent smell.

Getting hooked on Ice

Recent studies show that one third of users over the age of 14 are using daily.  Whilst ice is relatively inexpensive compared to other drugs of choice, addiction quickly becomes a money pit.
A young person addicted to crystal meth may find this once pleasurable drug turns into a monster they cannot control.  Money must be found to purchase the drug and unfortunately, this often leads to spiraling criminal activity, stealing from parents, family and siblings, lying, deceit and manipulative behaviors.
Using ice repeatedly may lead to more serious consequences. Dependance/Addiction with increased tolerance  (or needing more to get the same effect) can lead to further use. Overdose, ‘ice psychosis’ and death are real risks for daily and frequent users.  Mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts are increased for young people using ice.

How can I stop using ice?

Ice is incredibly potent and very addictive.
Young people will often try or experiment with crystal meth with their  friends.  Some may use once or twice and quit, many others will form dangerous habits leading to addiction and ultimately self destruction.
  • Ice addiction will impact friendships, family relationships, school, college, university and employment.
  • Ice addiction is incredibly difficult to break. Indeed in many cases there will be co-occurring mental health concerns.

The withdrawal symptoms of ice

Withdrawal symptoms can be anything from uncomfortable to dangerous. If you would like to stop using crystal meth it is useful to have a good support network. This could include your GP, Addiction Psychiatrist, psychiatric nurses and other mental health professionals.
Some young people are able to tolerate withdrawal at home (with support to deal with cravings, unpleasant sensations, confusion, anger, aches pains, tiredness, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, paranoia and depression). For many others, a medically assisted detox is both necessary and advised. In this instance an addiction psychiatrist with medically manage the withdrawal and put in place a detox regime.
The effects of withdrawals from ice can last between 1 week and 6 weeks with the possibility of sleep disturbance continuing for longer.

Other types of stimulant drugs

There are other types of stimulant drugs both street drugs and prescription drugs that may be used by young people abusing or addicted to stimulants.
Cocaine use in Australia is also rising rapidly. Cocaine is a white powder substance. Cocaine addiction is real, along with the dangerous and high risk behaviors often associated with cocaine use in young people. Violence, blackouts, loss of memory, driving whilst intoxicated, unsafe sexual activity, criminal activity, impulsivity, dangerously high blood pressure and heart attack are just some of the risks associated with cocaine use.
Amphetamines, sometimes prescribed for ADHD, Mephedrone, Khat.

How can I get help for my son/daughter if they are using drugs?

The Wave Clinic is a specialist residential treatment program for young people struggling with ice addiction, substance abuse, addiction, mental health and related behaviours.
All research indicates that young people have more successful treatment outcomes when they are in a safe space with other young people, supported in an environment that encourages connection, is trauma focused, is accepting. Young people need higher levels of meaningful activity in order to remain engaged and motivated.
The Wave is a consultant psychiatrist led centre of excellence for the treatment of teenagers, young adults and families. Providing education, intensive therapy, medically managed detox and a home from home environment for young people age 15 and above.

How can I pay for Rehab Treatment for my loved one?

We know drugs destroy lives, but the fact treatment is expensive makes it even more difficult. If you are reading this article, you or someone you love is most likely struggling with addiction. Finding a way to fund treatment is often the next hurdle. In Australia the release of superannuation is sanctioned by the Australian Government. The release of funds is through a program referred to as “Compassionate Release of Super”. If you have super or you have a dependent, you may be eligible to access your super to fund rehab treatment. Read more.

If you need to speak about the release of super to pay for mental health or addiction treatment contact

1300 090 261

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