Methamphetamine has dominated the headlines lately in the same way heroin did in the 1990's. Discussing Ice, practice issues and how best to support young people and communities begins with an understanding of the substance itself.


Ice, or crystal methamphetamine, is an illegal stimulant. It is purer and more potent than speed and other amphetamines. Check out how Ice works here.


Meth, Ice, crystal, crystal meth, shabu, tina, glass, crank, yaba, P, shard, puff, Tina and Christine. 


In 2013, 7.0 per cent of Australians over age 14 had used amphetamines in the previous 12 months; of this group, 50.8 per cent had used ice (National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2013). According to the recent Youth AOD Census, 35 per cent of young people in AOD support had used ice in the past 4 week period.


Shards of crystal, often with different colours through it, including brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. Methamphetamine is commonly sold in small plastic zip lock bags. 


Can be smoked, swallowed, snorted, injected or inserted anally (known as ‘shafting’ or ‘shelving’). It can also be heated on aluminium foil to inhale the vapours (known as ‘chasing’). Methamphetamine, like heroin, is commonly sold by the point. One point being equivilant to a tenth of a gram. 


Intense high lasting four to twelve hours, often followed by a severe comedown. Triggers exhilaration, alertness, agitation, paranoia, and aggression.


Methamphetamine psychosis, difficulty breathing, or very high fever. An ambulance should be called if any of these symptoms occur.


Tranquillisers, benzodiazepine , alcohol, cannabis, GHB or heroin to assist sleep.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Try the ADF’s further in-depth information.


Encourage a young person to: -

  • have a break and to try and eat something and try to get some sleep, if they have been using for an extend period of time.
  • brush their teeth regularly to avoid mouth sores or infections.
  • Understand that there are ways to inject safely if they are injecting.
  • understand the risks involved in mixing other drugs and alcohol, including prescription medication.
  • be informed about what they are using. Use websites like pillreports and erwoid to research what you are planning on taking.
  • See more Universal Harm Reduction Strategies
    If you are supporting a young person using methamphetamines, we recommend you check out these tips.

Dovetail has this great video helping explain methamphetamine.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Try the ADF’s further in-depth information.