BOSASNet has continued to raise awareness on drugs on the rise in Botswana, which means we are discussing drugs that may be new to Botswana or have been there but not been used by many people.

One drug which is relatively new is crystal meth. Crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride is an upper which gets its name from the way it looks.

It is usually smoked in glass pipes, like crack cocaine. It can also be injected snorted, swallowed, or inserted into the anus or urethra. Crystal meth is commonly made in homemade labs and from household goods and medicines.

Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of using crystal meth include itching, picking and scratching skin, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, trembling hands, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, reduced appetite, irritability, panic attacks, paranoia and psychosis.

Short term effects
There are a lot of immediate effects of crystal meth: euphoria, increased energy and alertness, diarrhoea and nausea. Other effects are excessive sweating, loss of appetite, insomnia, tremors, jaw-clenching, agitation, irritability, talkativeness, panic, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, violence, confusion and it also increases blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and blood sugar levels.

Long term effects
Using crystal meth for a long time may lead to tolerance, drug craving, insomnia, tooth decay and teeth falling out plus drug related psychosis (which may last for months or years after drug use is discontinued).

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can last days or weeks, depending on how long one has been an addict. Like all substances crystal meth changes the chemistry of the user’s brain so that the brain requires the substance to function. When the substance is not there the following effects may occur: depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense craving for the drug.

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