Drugs go in and out of style. One of the most popular drugs today – also one of the most dangerous and damaging – is crystal meth.
Crystal meth is the street form of the drug methamphetamine hydrochloride, which comes in clear, chunky crystals. It is also called “ice,” “crystal,” “glass,” “tina,” and more. A person who uses crystal meth is called a “tweaker.” The popular practice of having sex while high on crystal meth is called “PNP,” which is short for “Party and Play.”
Crystal meth is a powerful drug, and highly addictive. It first produces a powerful rush, followed by a high that can last up to 12 hours. The feelings it produces include euphoria, wakefulness, confidence, and uninhibitedness. Users often stay awake for two or three days at a time, during which they may forget to eat or even drink. A huge part of the appeal of the drug is that it supercharges sex. As one user says, “The orgasm from crystal meth is astronomical compared to an ordinary one.” Another reports, “Once I tried crystal, more and more I only wanted to have sex with crystal and not straight.”
The drawbacks of the drug are extreme. Once the high wears off, users are subject to both extreme fatigue and crushing depression. Crystal meth is both physically and mentally destructive – the damage it does to your brain is often impossible to repair. And the drug is very, very hard to kick. Even with professional help, the relapse rate for meth is higher than cocaine.
Many experts blame crystal meth directly for the current rise in new HIV infections, especially among gay men. Various studies show that gay men who use meth are two, three or even four times more likely to be HIV-positive than gay men who do not. Men who practice safe sex when sober commonly do not under the influence of meth.
The danger of spreading the virus aside, crystal meth has become a true scrouge to people with HIV. Under the influence of the drug, people routinely forget to eat or drink for hours or days. What is the chance they will remember to take their HIV medications? Also, going for days without sleep is hard on anyone – but it is much more damaging for those whose immune system is compromised. And people on meth invariably lose weight – sometimes a lot of weight. That can be life-threatening to those with HIV or AIDS.
The bottom line? This is a drug to stay away from! If you’re already using, now is the time to stop. Recovery from meth is very difficult – but it can be done! One place to start is with a new 12-step organization called Crystal Meth Anonymous. You can find a meeting at www.crystalmeth.org.
Copyright 2015, Positive Health Publications, Inc.
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