Crack meth/Ice/Crystal meth/Tik/Shabu/Yaba

Photo: Ioulia KondratovitchWhat is it?

Methamphetamine is part of the group of drugs called amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). It is a synthetic drug that is usually manufactured in illegal laboratories. Methamphetamine comes as a powder, tablet or as crystals that look like shards of glass.

How is it taken?

It can be swallowed, sniffed/snorted, smoked or injected.

How does it affect users?

Methamphetamine stimulates a feeling of physical and mental well being, as well as a surge of euphoria and exhilaration. Users experience a temporary rise in energy, often perceived to improve their performance at manual or intellectual tasks. Users also feel postponement of hunger and fatigue.

What are the risks associated with methamphetamine use?

Short-term, users can lose their appetite and start breathing faster. Their heart rate and blood pressure may increase and the body temperature may go up and cause sweating. With large doses, users may feel restless and irritable and they may experience panic attacks.

Excessive doses of methamphetamine can lead to convulsions, seizures and death from respiratory failure, stroke or heart failure.

Long-term methamphetamine use can lead to malnutrition, weight loss and the development of psychological dependence. Once chronic users stop taking methamphetamine, a long period of sleep, and then depression, usually follows.

Other risks

Methamphetamine use sometimes triggers aggressive, violent and bizarre behaviour among users.

Related stories and video

New markets for synthetic drugs

"Tik": Crystal meth in Cape Town

Yaba, the 'crazy medicine' of East Asia

Watch the video produced by United Nations Television on the threat posed by synthetic drugs (Flash required)


Copyright©2023 UNODC, All Rights Reserved, Legal Notice