Crank, chalk, crystal, speed, glass, and ice is a series of names all referring to the drug: crystal methamphetamine.
The illegal drug methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth when refined into crystallized pieces for sale or consumption, is an incredibly powerful central nervous system stimulant known for its ability to reduce appetite, promote wakefulness, increase energy, heighten concentration, and produce an intense long lasting and euphoric high in users. In many cases, heavy users can go for many days at a time with tiny food and without sleep by continuously taking more of the drug every few hours or so as the acute effects wear off to prolong the high for as long as possible. Crystal meth can be consumed orally, but is usually crushed into a fine powder and insufflated (snorted), smoked, or injected either intravenously or intramuscularly to achieve more intense effects with a more rapid onset. In addition to the acute psychological and physical effects of crystal meth, the drug also dramatically increases blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn generates increased body heat and perspiration.
What are the effects of crystal meth?
- Increased wakefulness
- Heightened concentration and alertness
- Decreased appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased perspiration
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
- Increased libido
- Vasoconstriction of blood vessels
- Intense euphoria and sense of pleasure
- Addiction and chronic health problems with long term use
Where does crystal meth come from?
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, the vast majority of illicit methamphetamine, including crystal meth, is smuggled illegally into the southern United States from Mexico where it is manufactured by Mexican drug trafficking organizations on an industrial scale. The methamphetamine supplied by Mexican drug trafficking organizations is produced by trained chemists in well equipped clandestine laboratories and is usually of a very high initial quality and purity. In addition to methamphetamine smuggled in from Mexico, smaller amounts are also manufactured within the United States by local producers, commonly known as ‘cooks,’ operating less sophisticated ‘labs’ using over-the-counter decongestant medications containing pseudoephedrine and various other chemicals.
How long has crystal meth been around?
Crystal meth was originally synthesized in 1919 by Japanese chemist Akira Ogata through the reduction of ephedrine with red phosphorus and iodine. After its invention, various forms of methamphetamine were used extensively by military forces around the world to increase soldiers’ combat effectiveness in harsh circumstances. During this time and up until the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, methamphetamine was prescribed and used commonly for a variety of conditions such as narcolepsy, Parkinson’s, depression, and alcoholism, among others. After its inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, methamphetamine became a Schedule II substance, which was only available with a valid prescription from a licensed physician. In response to increased government regulation and its relatively easy method of manufacture, clandestine production of methamphetamine became familiar throughout the latter part of the twentieth century and had led to even more stringent government regulation of the various precursors used to make it.