Crystal methamphetamine or "tina" is one of the fastest growing drugs in the gay community. To users it's short-term effects may seem mild and the initial high fantastic, but in the long run tina can be dangerous to their physical and emotional health not to mention social well-being.
The Friends I Knew That Were Addicted to Crystal
I've witnessed the slow destruction of people's lives due to a dangerous addiction to crystal. In the beginning it was extremely difficult for them to acknowledge their addiction. It was also a challenge for us around them to recognize their downward spiral.
At first, their use was sporadic, only while partying. The destruction then continued when they started using meth outside of the club. One friend wanted to lose weight and knew crystal would suppress his appetite. Another didn't sleep much and was under a deadline at work so he used it throughout the day to be more productive. He was eventually reprimanded due to his constant mood swings and unreliability. Lastly, a friend's daily routine became unpredictable and gauging the truth in any of his statements was increasingly difficult. He eventually alienated his family and friends.
Why Do People Use Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth increases the levels of two neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, resulting in a high that numbs your senses and causes hyperactivity. Meth also increases stamina allowing users to party for long periods of time.
What Are the Negative Side Effects of Tina?
Unfortunately, the drug causes decreased appetite and gives a false sense of prolonged energy. I've witnessed friends dancing for over 6 hours straight without eating or hydrating themselves. Their bodies gave no sign of fatigue or hunger even though they were obviously present. They were also very hyperactive and often made inappropriate comments and engaged in inappropriate behavior.
Crystal can be in the body anywhere from 2-20 hours. However, after users start to come off the drug or "crash" they become emotionally instable and highly irritable. This can be extremely dangerous for those that suffer from depression who naturally have a difficult time regulating their moods. The drug also causes heart palpitations, blurred vision, extended wakefulness, and damage to the brain, lungs and liver. The ultimate side effect is death from overdose.
Crystal Use and HIV
The Los Angeles Times reports "meth use is a 'growing threat' to MSM [men who have sex with other men] nationwide because it increases arousal and reduces inhibition, often encouraging people to seek multiple sexual partners, which could put MSM at an increased risk of contracting HIV."
Also, according to Aidshotline.org, "many people when high on crystal do not use condoms and may have sex with many different sex partners during a speed run. And even if they do use condoms, the lengthy and rougher sex that often happens results in a much higher likelihood that the condom will break."
How Is Crystal Used?
Crystal can be injected, snorted or smoked. In its crystal form it is called ice or glass.
How Can I Determine If a Friend or I Have an Addiction?
Read the signs of a tina addiction.
Where Do I Get Help?
Here are the top addiction resources to help you beat the habit.