Crystal Meth Use Increases Risk of Injecting Drugs

    A new study finds a link between crystal meth use and an increased risk of injecting drugs. The Canadian study included 395 young people living on the street in Vancouver.

    The study participants, ages 14 to 26, initially used crystal meth but were not injection drug users. Over the next five years, 16 percent started injecting drugs for the first time. Crystal meth was the drug most commonly used in the first injection, HealthDay reports. The average age when young people began using crystal meth was 14.

    The findings are published in CMAJ, the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    “Addressing the impact of crystal methamphetamine use in increasing the risk of injection initiation among injection-naive street-involved youth represents an urgent public health priority,” study co-author Dr. Evan Wood of the University of British Columbia said in a news release.

    Crystal meth is a very pure, smokeable form of methamphetamine. It is a powerful and extremely addictive man-made stimulant. Its use can lead to severe physiological and psychological dependence.

    The drug’s effects are similar to those of cocaine, but longer lasting. Crystal meth can cause erratic, violent behavior among its users. Effects include suppressed appetite, interference with sleeping behavior, mood swings and unpredictability, tremors and convulsions, increased blood pressure and irregular heart rate. Users may also experience homicidal or suicidal thoughts, prolonged anxiety, paranoia and insomnia.