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What is Ice Drug?

Crystal methamphetamine (‘ice,’ ice drug) is an illegal stimulant drug that speeds up the messages traveling 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 tiny chunky clear crystals that look like ice. It can also come as a white or brownish crystal-like powder with a strong smell and bitter taste.

When methamphetamine is produced, then further refined and allowed to crystallize, it becomes “ice drug” methamphetamine. When the drug doesn’t go through this additional process, it is sold and used as a powder or chunky substance. Ice drug is pure enough to burn, so it is usually smoked. Some users also dissolve ice drugs and inject them. The impurities in powdered meth do not allow it to burn. Therefore, powdered meth can be snorted, ingested, or be dissolved, and then injected.

Ice Drug
Ice drug (crystal methamphetamine) is a drug that stimulates the brain and nervous system and is highly addictive.

Ice drug or crystal meth is burned and the smoke is inhaled, a brief, intense rush is reported. When a person uses powder meth and injects it, they get a similar rush. However, snorting powder meth produces a longer high without the initial rush. Ice drug or crystal meth can be called by many different names, depending on where you are. Here is a list of the most common names: Batu, Blade, Cristy, Crystal glass, Hot ice, LA glass, LA ice, Quartz, Shabu, Shards, Stovetop, Super ice, Tina, Ventana.

What is Ice Drug Made of?

Currently, most methamphetamine (meth) in the United States is produced by transactional criminal organizations (TCOs) in Mexico. This type of meth is highly pure, potent, and low in price. The illicit drug can be easily made in small clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications. To curb this kind of production, the law requires pharmacies and other retail stores to keep a purchase record of products containing pseudoephedrine, and take steps to limit sales.

Meth production also involves several other hazardous chemicals. Toxic effects from these chemicals can remain in the environment long after the lab has been shut down, causing a wide range of health problems for people living in the area. These chemicals can also result in deadly lab explosions and house fires.

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Are Meth and Ice the Same Thing?

Yes, Ice drug (also referred to as crystal meth) refers to the rock or glass-like form of methamphetamine. Both ice drug and crystal meth are common street names for meth. The difference between ice drugs and other forms of meth is its purity and strength. Ice drug is a more pure and strong form of meth, compared to the speed (base forms of meth). It is typically manufactured in chemical super labs that can preserve its potency with few to no additives.

When in a purified form, the half-life of the ice drug is 6-15 hours, which means it takes this long for the body to remove half of the drug. Based on the half-life, ice drug stays in the body for at least 30 hours and up to 75 hours after last use. As a result, ice is more addictive and creates an extended high that can be felt up to 24 hours after use.

Since ice drug is the purest form of meth available, the strength and length of its effects can make it a target for abuse and overdose. Ice drugs and other concentrated forms of illegal stimulants are more likely to cause overdose and death than less concentrated forms.

What are Other Types of Meth?

Meth can come in different forms that change the way it is used and the effects it can have on the brain and body. In general, meth comes in three main forms:

  • Ice or crystal meth, which has a rock-like appearance
  • A fine white powder often referred to as ‘speed,’ which is often snorted
  • An oily and thick brownish-yellow substance called ‘base’

 Effects of Ice

There is no safe level of ice drug use. Any drug use is risky, and effects can vary from person to person and depend on factors such as:

  • Amount and strength of the dose
  • Physical make-up and state of mind
  • Response to the drug (for example, a first-time user may experience different effects to someone who has used it before)
  • Whether it has been mixed with other drugs

Short-term Effects of Ice

 Ice drug acts rapidly and produces effects such as:

  • Enlarged pupils and dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feelings of pleasure and confidence
  • Teeth grinding
  • Increased energy
  • Increased sex drive (libido)
  • Itching and scratching
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nosebleeds and damage to the nasal passage (from snorting).
Ice drug
Dependence on ice drugs means that you need the drug to help you go about your everyday activities.

Injecting ice and sharing needles increases your risk of:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Vein damage
  • Infection, such as tetanus

Coming down from ice can take several days and effects include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling down or low
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia, hallucinations and confusion

Using other drugs (such as benzodiazepines, cannabis, and opioids) to cope with coming down from ice may lead to a cycle of dependence where someone becomes reliant on all the drugs they use.

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Long-Term Effects

Ice drug is one of the most destructive drugs on the illicit market, including physical, mental, and behavioral effects. If someone you care about is abusing it, it is critically important to help them find effective help as soon as possible.

Ice drug is a strong stimulant, a highly purified form of methamphetamine that usually is smoked. It causes a person to be energetic, euphoric, and artificially confident. The ice drug user will typically stay up for days if the supply of ice drug holds out, eating little or no food. The high from ice drug can last a short time like half an hour or as long as a full day. In most cases, the high from ice methamphetamine lasts much longer than the high from cocaine.

When the ice drug wears off, the person is likely to be anxious, exhausted, and depressed. The cravings for more ice drugs will be intense and lead the individual to do whatever it takes to get more drugs and use them again.

An ice drug user can experience severe mood swings and become violent. If the individual needs to commit crimes to get more drugs, he or she is likely to consider this more important than any other consideration. If the individual is high while planning the crime, they will likely approach it with great aggressiveness and confidence.

Physical Harm from Ice Drug

Almost half the ice users who were studied had physical problems, including weight loss and heart palpitations. Staph infections resulting in sores on the body are possible. They can easily be spread among meth users as they compulsively pick at and scratch their bodies or skin picking disorder due to hallucinations of bugs crawling under the skin.

Ice smokers may have severe dental problems that ultimately require the extraction of all the teeth (meth mouth). A combination of factors such as the harsh chemicals in the drug, poor diet, exhaustion, and lack of saliva flow contribute to this problem.

Ice Drug
There is no safe level of ice use – harmful reactions may include ice drug psychosis and unpredictable or violent behavior.

There is a long list of specific harm that frequently results from ice abuse, including:

  • Kidney and lung disorders that can be fatal
  • Brain damage
  • Disorganized, chaotic, damaging lifestyle
  • Permanent psychological problems
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Diminished social ability
  • Lowered resistance to illness
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Mental Harm

Withdrawal from Ice

If you have been using ice drugs for a long time, giving up can be challenging. Your mind and body will need to adjust to functioning without the drug.

If you decide to quit or cut down your ice use, you may experience some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These usually happen at the start and settle after a week. Most withdrawal symptoms disappear after four weeks.

Symptoms of ice withdrawal include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Intense cravings for ice
  • Paranoia
  • Restless sleep and nightmares

Ice Cravings

Recovery from ice drugs is possible. However, cravings can happen. These usually last up to three months. Other symptoms of ice drug use can persist for over twelve months. Relapse (returning to use) is common, and it may take some time to feel ‘normal’ again.

If you have any concerns about your health, contact your GP (doctor), community health center, or a drug support service.

Ice Psychosis

Psychotic symptoms and syndromes are frequently experienced among individuals who use ice drug or crystal meth, with recent estimates of up to approximately 40% of users affected [2]. Acute symptoms can include agitation, violence, and delusions, and may require management in an inpatient psychiatric or other crisis intervention setting. Psychosis can recur and persist and may be difficult to distinguish from a primary psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

Differential diagnosis of primary versus substance-induced psychotic disorders among ice drug users is challenging. Nevertheless, with careful assessment of the temporal relationship of symptoms to crystal meth use, aided by state-of-the-art psychodiagnostic assessment instruments and use of objective indicators of recent substance use (i.e., urine toxicology assays). It is also coupled with clinical data gathered from the family or others close to the individual. Diagnostic accuracy can be optimized and the individual can be appropriately matched to a plan of treatment.

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This illicit drug is also known for its high overdose potential due to its strong addiction potential and often dangerous chemical substances. One scary fact about crystal ice poisoning is that it’s not always dose-dependent. Instead, the drug can build up gradually within the system over time. This means that chronic abusers can suffer from an overdose even if they consume relatively small amounts of the drug.

No fixed amount of methamphetamine (ice) is considered “lethal” or can lead to an ice drug overdose. The amount of ice drug that may lead to an overdose may depend on the purity of the batch, the individual’s health status, how long they were left without care, previous drug abuse, and concomitant use with other drugs or alcohol.

Ice Drug Overdose Symptoms

If overdose happens, the health effects are widespread and cover several body systems, especially if care is delayed. This means that there may be a lot of signs and symptoms to look out for. With this in mind, some things can determine the severity of the signs. One of them is the amount of drug that reaches the brain. Also, it influences how long one will have to bear them. Understandably, injecting it is more dangerous than eating or smoking.

Here are a few common ice overdose symptoms and signs:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Mental confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme fear or panic states
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Tremor
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory and judgment
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Abnormal muscle contractions
  • Muscle pain or weakness

Moreover, extremely high body temperature (hyperthermia) is another vital and potentially fatal effect. Chronic use of ice drugs is bad for the heart and kidneys too.

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What if I Use Alcohol Together with Ice?

Many individuals use ice drugs and alcohol in binge-like patterns to help offset the negative effects of each, which can be the start of a cycle of severe dependence. Ice drug or crystal meth and alcohol abuse can have serious, negative physical and mental health consequences, especially when taken in high doses. Some of the dangers can include:

  • An increase in risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex
  • An increased risk of contracting HIV, AIDS, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
  • Compromised decision-making abilities
  • An increased risk of accidents or injuries
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • An increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • An increased risk of congenital disabilities
  • An increased risk of suicide

Ice drug

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If you or your loved one is suffering from ice drug addiction, indeed, help is just a phone call away. Professional ice drug addiction treatment is necessary for safe and effective recovery. To learn more, contact us today at We Level Up NJ Treatment Facility, we provide utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We provide an enhanced opportunity to return to a fulfilling and productive life.

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[1] NIDA –

[2] NCBI –