world wideCrystal methamphetamine, better known as crystal meth, ice or glass, is a white crystalline form of methamphetamine, a drug commonly taken as a “club drug” at all-night rave parties. Crystal meth has risen to prominence in recent years, surpassing in popularity other illicit stimulant drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. Whereas cocaine use has declined during the past several years, from 2.1 million users in 2007 to 1.7 million in 2012, crystal meth has become the drug of choice for teens and young adults today, and the use of crystal meth is more prevalent now than ever before. In fact, according to a government report issued in 2008, approximately 13 million people over the age of 12 have used crystal meth, and 529,000 of them are regular users.

Symptoms of Crystal Meth Addiction

Crystal meth use is associated with a sense of happiness and well-being, as well as a strong feeling of energy, confidence and hyperactivity, followed by a less intense feeling of euphoria. Unfortunately, crystal meth is also highly addictive, and continued use of the club drug is associated with serious consequences, including aggressive behavior, memory loss, psychotic behavior, and possibly even heart and brain damage. Some of the most common symptoms of crystal meth addiction include:

  • Eye twitching
  • Weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity
  • Repetitious behavior

People who are addicted to crystal meth may remain awake for days at a time, followed by an extreme crash, where they sleep for long periods of time. They may experience a manic phase, where they exhibit a compulsive or obsessive need to clean, and may also develop physical symptoms like rotted teeth or sores on their face.

Crystal Meth Use Around the World

More people than ever before are familiar with the drug crystal meth, thanks at least in part to the popular television crime drama Breaking Bad, and some believe the TV show may have actually played a role in the renewed popularity of crystal meth in the U.S., Australia, the UK, and other parts of the world. “I think there are probably more profound drivers, such as the number of people with no sense of future, lack of employment opportunities or mental health issues,” says Geoff Munro, national policy manager at the Australian Drug Foundation. “It may be that it’s popular because people who are already heavy drug users can smoke it.” The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime now considers crystal meth an “imminent threat,” due to increased seizures worldwide, and steps are being taken by government officials to curb the use of crystal meth in the United States.