Methamphetamine hydrochloride is known under a number of street names, including crystal meth and crank. It is usually found in a powdered form, which is ingested, snorted or injected. However, it is now processed in such a way that a smokable form is created, which is known as “ice” or “glass”. This substance looks like a chip of ice or glass, which is where the name comes from. It is often confused with crack because it looks similar and is abused in the same way. However, there is a very big difference.
Understanding Meth and Crack
Ice is a form of methamphetamine. Crack, on the other hand, is freebase cocaine in a very potent form. The substances are abused in the same way and they both provide a very strong, intense and immediate high that greatly increases how alert someone is. When smoking ice, users tend to say they have “amped”, because the euphoria they feel is amplified beyond what anyone could ever have expected. The difference between the effects of meth and crack, however, is that crack only lasts about 15 minutes, whereas smoking ice can last as long as 24 hours.
Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. Ice, on the other hand, is a synthetic product, creating in chemical labs. Crack tends to be sold in a plastic or glass vile in very small quantities (usually about half a gram). Ice, on the other hand, is sold in plastic bag the size of about a penny, which is referred to as a “paper”.
Ice is placed into a glass pipe, which is then heated. The vapors are then inhaled and they immediately enter the bloodstream, where they are transported to the brain. When heating ice, the crystals become liquefied. Any ice that isn’t used returns to a solid state and can be used at a later stage. It is a completely odorless substance, which allows users to smoke it anywhere they like. The worrying fact is that this makes it possible for people to use it at work, so that they become more alert. It has been known for people to use ice for several days only for them to finally “crash”, which leads to them sleeping for around 24 hours. Although crack is used in a similar fashion, the effects are very different.
Meth in the United States
For many years, San Diego, CA was one of the only places where the drug was used. However, it soon started spreading across the country and is now found in both rural and suburban areas. Once upon a time, it was the drug of choice for blue-collar white males, but it is now used across all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.
The 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse estimated that some 4.9 million people over the age of 12 in this country have tried meth at some point. The previous survey in 1994 estimated this number at 3.8 million, which was down from the 1995 estimate of 4.7 million. This makes it very worrying that the 1996 survey showed such a significant rise.
Another study was performed by the 1996 Drug Abuse Warning Network, where information was collected in relation to drug admissions to hospitals. They reported a decrease of 39% between 1994 and 1996, which was particularly significant after the 237% increase that was reported between 1990 and 1994.
Unfortunately, however, the figures showed that there had been a decrease in 1995 and the first half of 1996, but this was followed by a significant increase up to 1996.
NIDA’s Community Epidemiology Work Group has reported that there continues to be an increase in the use of meth and ice in particular. This demonstrates that there is a real problem that affects all of us.
If you are currently struggling with a meth, crack or ice addiction, please contact Creative Care today. We are there to help you regain control of your life, taking the important steps to returning to the world as a productive member of society. This is done in a holistic manner, looking at your situation as an individual, thereby increasing your chances of success.