The Drug Known as “Ice” – AKA Crystal Methamphetamine

Ice drug - crystal methIce Drug: Classified as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. DEA, the drug “ice” is methamphetamine. It is legally obtainable as a non-refillable, doctor-prescribed medication for ADHD or weight loss for obese individuals. When sold on the streets, methamphetamine has many “code” names used by drug dealers, including:

  • Ice
  • Crystal
  • Crank
  • Tweak
  • Poor man’s coke
  • Garbage or trash
  • Speed

Most ice sold by drug dealers is manufactured in U.S. or Mexican laboratories. Producing meth requires a few cheap and easy-to-get ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine (found in over-the-counter sinus medications), anhydrous ammonia (a type of agricultural fertilizer), acetone, lithium red phosphorous and ether.

Ice Drug Statistics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2017, over two percent of adults between 18 and 25 have tried or currently use methamphetamine. Nearly seven percent of adults over 26 said they have tried or are currently using ice. One percent of high schools seniors said they have used meth at least once.

Statistics from the CDC state that over 4500 people died from methamphetamine overdoses in 2015, an increase of 30 percent over 2014. Also, while heroin use increased by about two percent, abuse of ice increased to four percent between 2010 and 2015.

Effects of Drug Ice

Ice is a powerful stimulant that increases dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter regulating emotional responses, pleasure/reward centers, movement and motivation to engage in behaviors that reward us. When people snort, eat or inject methamphetamine, they will experience a variety of extremely energizing effects impacting the central nervous system:

  • Elevated mood/mood swings
  • Increased alertness/hypervigilance
  • Hyperactivity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Faster respiration/heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Talkativeness

Long Term

Longer term ice drugs (meth) abusers will start suffering an exaggeration of the effects they felt when first using meth. These effects include:

  • Paranoid thinking
  • Delusions
  • Aggressive & violent behavior
  • Abnormal skin sensations
  • Malnutrition/extreme weight loss
  • Teeth grinding
  • Periods of tachycardia and hyperventilation
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle tremors/twitching


Peculiar to ice drug users is something called “punding“, a type of repetitive activity that has no purpose and may continue for hours, even if someone tries to stop the person high on meth from punding. An example of punding is removing books out of a bookcase, stacking them up neatly and then putting them back into the bookcase. Meth addicts who are “punding” may also clean one spot obsessively, repeat the same phrases meaninglessly and collect useless objects.

Ice Drug Overdose

A meth overdose requires immediate supportive treatment to prevent heart failure, nervous system damage and death. Ice overdose symptoms include abnormal heart rate/rhythm, severe anxiety/agitation, tremors, convulsions and coma. Unless reversed, an ice overdose could produce circulatory system collapse, sudden kidney failure and bleeding in the brain resulting in permanent and serious health problems for meth abusers.

Ice Drug Overdose Treatment

Administration of benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety) drugs and activated charcoal are typical treatment methods for an ice overdose. Victims presenting severe hypertension and an increased risk of brain bleeding may be given intravenous nitroprusside or phentolamine.

In some cases, people overdosing on meth present symptoms of psychosis–extreme agitation, hallucinations and uncontrollable body movements. Administration of antipsychotics like haloperidol may be necessary to calm overdose victims until other treatments take effect.

Ice Drug Videos

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