Alcohol & Drugs
A picture of Meth

What’s the deal with meth?

Meth is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It is a type of methamphetamine, which is generally stronger, more addictive and has more harmful side effects than the powder form known as speed (amphetamine).

Meth usually comes as small chunky clear crystals that look like ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder with a strong smell and bitter taste.

How does it work?

Meth can be smoked, injected (blasted, slammed), swallowed, snorted or shafted up the ass (booty bumping).

  • When meth is smoked the effects can be felt in 3 to 7 seconds. Smoking is usually done through a glass pipe and the smoke or vapour is inhaled into the lungs.
  • When meth is blasted the effects can be felt in 3 to 7 seconds. Blasting is done by using a needle and syringe and injecting into veins. This method should be done with clean injecting equipment and requires quite a bit of know how.
  • When swallowed it can take 15 to 30 minutes to feel the effects.
  • When snorted it can take 3 to 5 minutes to feel the effects.
  • When shafted it can take 15 to 30 minutes to feel the effects.

If you are having anal sex and shafting, give it at least 15-30 minutes after you've shafted before you engage in any anal sex. Let the meth dissolve in this timeframe before you start having anal sex because during sex you can sometimes cause tears to the anus.

Don't share injecting equipment! It increases the risk of transmission of blood borne viruses like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tetanus and HIV. Pick up your own clean injecting pack from a Needle Syringe Program or other health outlet in your area.


There is no such thing as a SAFE level of drug use. Substance use carries risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any form of drug, especially those that have been manufactured illegally.

If blasted, the effects of meth can be felt almost immediately. Smoking, shafting, snorting or swallowing the drug may vary the length of time it takes for the effects to be felt.

Meth may affect people differently based on:

  • A person’s body weight
  • General state of health
  • Regular use of substance
  • If taken in combination with other drugs including prescription medication
  • The amount that is consumed
  • Quality of the drug (this varies from batch to batch for most illicit drugs)

We can't really tell you how long your high will last, because it all depends on the strength of the batch, how much you have taken, your tolerance to it and how you've taken it. Just be careful not to get too impatient and then double up your dose before the 1st one hits.

Short Term Effects

In the short term use of meth is likely to result in the following:

  • Increased confidence and motivation
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Dilated pupils
  • A dry or pasty mouth
  • Increase in heart rate
  • A reduced appetite
  • Excess sweating
  • Increase in libido

Snorting meth can damage the nasal passage and cause nose bleeds. Ouch!

Long Term Effects

Like any substance, regular use of meth may result in the following effects to your health:

  • A reduced appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Restless sleep patterns
  • Ongoing dental problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory issues
  • Muscle stiffness


Baby needs to get some sleep! High doses and frequent heavy use of meth may cause meth psychosis. It’s not fun and it’s consists of things like paranoid delusions, hallucinations and potentially, aggressive and violent behaviour. Symptoms will usually disappear a few days after use of the drug has ceased.

Coming Down

Coming down off Meth can be pretty hard. It's quite the low, but what goes up must come down.  You'll be feeling all sorts of feelings while coming down, don't go thinking it's all over, your mental health is going through a come down and the feelings pass in time. 

Comedown feelings might include:

  • feeling restless, irritable and anxious
  • paranoia
  • depression
  • radical mood swings
  • lethargy
  • exhaustion
  • increased sleep
  • anger

Your body has probably been through quite a bit as well, so what can you do to look after yourself?

Here are a few tips:

  • Firstly make sure you eat heaps before you use. It really helps. Keep eating too!
  • Make sure your fridge is stocked before you use, so you can easily make food when you are partying as well as coming down. Nutrition is really important.
  • Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water.
  • If you are on any HIV meds or PrEP, put a reminder in your phone so you don't forget to take them. Take a few days worth of meds out with you if you are having a big weekend. Also check out the section below on drug interactions for people living with HIV.
  • Pamper yourself and do the things that make you feel safe and comfy. Hot shower, bath time, hanging out with friends, sleeping and watching trashy TV.
  • Relax with some chilled music, this is a good playlist: LISTEN HERE
  • Or check out this really nice relaxation video below.


The safest thing you can do is to not do any drugs, m'kay? But let's be realistic, people use drugs. Some people really enjoy it, but for others it can become really problematic either for their health and wellbeing, their relationships, their jobs, their financial security or all of the above. Not only this, but some people can also develop a dependance and this can lead further problems if it isn't addressed early or easily managed.

If you are going to use drugs, it's best to be safe about it. It's your choice to determine what you put in your body, but whatever you do remember to be safe and responsible - with yourself and with others.

We've got some helpful tips to consider.

  • Set limits for yourself, and stick to them.
  • Don’t let other people pressure you into doing drugs.
  • Try to avoid mixing drugs with other drugs or be informed about the risks.
  • Try to be aware of exactly what you are taking and how much you are taking.
  • Eat before you party and stay hydrated with water.
  • If you are going out for a big night, leave your bank cards at home and set a cash limit for yourself, leaving enough to get home by taxi.
  • Tell some trusted friends what you're planning to do.

Safer Injecting

If you are blasting, it’s important to use clean injecting equipment and to avoid sharing needles or other injecting equipment. Blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV can be transmitted through sharing equipment. So with that being said it’s important to be aware of where blood can end up. Blood may not only remain on or in needles and syringes but also on other equipment and surfaces such as your skin, on your hands or the top of a table. You can’t always see blood so don’t assume that just because you can’t see it that it isn’t there.

Make sure you wash your hands and clean the area where you are preparing to inject.Injecting drug use and the sharing of equipment with others puts you at increased risk of:

  • Vein damage and permanent scarring
  • Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tetanus and HIV transmission
  • Deep vein thrombosis and clots – this may result in the loss of limbs, damage to organs, stroke and possibly even death


Large doses or a strong batch of amphetamine may result in overdose. Drugs that are manufactured illicitly and sold on the street vary in strength. They are also likely to be cut or diluted with other substances that are otherwise considered harmful to the body. If you, or someone you know is feeling any of the following effects - call for an ambulance immediately. You do this simply by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers are not obliged to involve the police.

  • An irregular or racing heart beat
  • Convulsions
  • Hypertension and difficult breathing
  • Passed or passing out
  • Symptoms of heart attack and stroke

Mixing with Other Drugs

The effect of taking amphetamines in combination with other drugs including over-the-counter or prescribed medication is unpredictable and dangerous.

Amphetamines + Antidepressants or Alcohol/Cannabis/Benzos: Woah! Because amphetamine speeds up the body - when it’s combined with depressants it may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Use of uppers and downers at the same time places the body under a high degree of stress. As your body attempts to deal with the conflicting chemical messages produced by different drugs, you significantly increase the negative side effects and this could result in overdose.

Living with HIV

Interactions with HIV Medications

Living with HIV and taking a protease inhibitor? Your HIV treatment schedule combined with crystal or any other amphetamine may lead to elevated amounts of the drug pushing through your system. This significantly increases the chance of negative side effects with potentially fatal results.

Taking Hormones

For trans, gender diverse or intersex people who are taking some form of hormone therapy, it's important to be aware and informed of how your body processes these treatments.

Currently, there is limited information into the interactions and cross interactions of hormone therapy and recreational drug use but that doesn't mean we'll stop asking for it. Whether your hormones are prescribed by a doctor or you've sourced them yourself from the internet, make it a priority to get regular health checks. Sometimes, a change in dosage or preparation of hormones is needed and a qualified medical practitioner is the person best placed to advise you of this.

If you're not comfortable talking about your gender, gender identity or bodily difference with your doctor, get in touch and we can make recommendations for a service that is best placed to support your needs.

Interactions with Hormones

We don't know of any negative interactions between meth and hormone treatments. This does not mean that it is safe. Exercise caution when mixing any form of drugs.


Been going a little too hard lately? If your meth use has begun to have a negative impact on your overall health or your relationships with family and friends, your ability to focus on work or study or perhaps even the bottom line on your bank account - it's time to TouchBase with somebody who can help.

There are a number of treatment options and support services available for you, for your family or friends if they need it.

Whatever your recovery goals are, if it is to control, reduce or stop meth use, reach out for some support.

Counselling & Support

This is the most common kind of treatment, and there are a number of different approaches that might be taken. These might involve talking through your problems, learning to change the way you think, or thinking about how you might deal with difficult situations.

Counselling can be provided individually or in a group situation, and is available both to people who use AOD, and to their family members or support people. A support service can offer counselling or direct you to a service appropriate for you. Speak to your doctor, AOD treatment service or local community health service.

Find help and support services.


Rehabilitation programs take a long term approach to treatment to help you achieve an AOD-free lifestyle.

Residential programs can last from a few weeks to a number of years. No withdrawal medication is provided in the centres, so it is very important that you have already successfully completed your withdrawal treatment.

Residential withdrawal is also available from some treatment services.

Find out more about withdrawal.

Complementary therapies

These include treatments such as massage and relaxation therapies, which can be useful to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Some herbal or natural remedies can also help, but you should first seek advice from your doctor or treatment service because withdrawing from alcohol and some drugs can be life-threatening.

Peer support 

These programs are provided both for people who use AOD, and their family members or support person. They are usually established by people who have had personal experience with AOD, and are often based on the Twelve-step Program model. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two examples of these.

- See more at:


Substitution pharmacotherapy is the use of medication to replace a harmful drug. This is given as a legal, measured, prescribed dose of a drug, and helps take away cravings so that you can work on other issues that will help you to recover.

Pharmacotherapy is only available for withdrawal from some drugs. For example, buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone are used in the treatment of opioid dependence.

Your doctor or treatment service can give you more information about what is available to help you.

Withdrawal & Rehab

Giving up after using amphetamines for a long time is a challenging task. The body needs to adjust to a life of functioning without it. Functioning without stimulants after such a long period is hard. It may take a week or more to get through the symptoms and from that point on ‘til the end of one month you may experience any of the following:

  • Drug cravings
  • An increased appetite
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Body aches and pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Restless sleep and nightmares
  • Anxiety, depression and paranoia
Important notice

Please note: The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way. Individuals wanting medical advice about Meth should consult a health professional.