Methamphetamine and Cocaine

This information is available from PAD’s Parent & Community Handbook, 7th edition.

“Crystal Meth”/ Methamphetamine

(speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass,tina, jib, crank)

In the 1960’s methamphetamine was a common street drug usually taken in pill form.  Referred to as “speed” it was known for its unpredictable and harmful effects.  Since the 1990’s a smokeable form (“crystal”) has been available.  This form has extremely damaging short term and long term effects. Smoking or injecting “meth” causes a stronger reaction than inhaling or taking it in pill form.  Another recent cause for concern is the way crystal meth is produced. It is made by combining household items, such as ammonia and lithium from batteries, with pseudoephedrine which is found in several common cold medicines. The illegal home laboratories which produce the drug are extremely dangerous because of the chemicals involved.

While the use of crystal meth is not on the rise among the mainstream high school population, there may be concern about how much it is used among certain populations, such as street youth, or within particular communities.


  • it causes feelings of an intense sensation of pleasure; when smoked or injected there is a brief “rush” or “flash” although the drug stays in the body for up to 12 hours
  • it causes increased heart rate, blood pressure and can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain and convulsions
  • the person may experience loos of appetite, become anxious, aggressive or confused
  • long-term effects include; possible irreversible damage to brain cell-endings, associated with thinking, memory and movement, insomnia, anorexia, paranoia, bizarre violent behaviour and skin sores.


Cocaine and “Crack”

(“C”, coke, flake, snow, stardust, blow, nose candy)

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes from the coca bush that grows in South America.  The leaves are soaked, mashed and filtered to create a paste that is treated with chemicals.  It ends up as a powder that has other powders added to it.

“Crack” or “rock” is cocaine which is chemically changed so it can be smoked and inhaled into the lungs. Crack cocaine is particularly addictive and very dangerous. People are attracted to it because smoking provides a much quicker and more intense “high” than sniffing or “snorting” cocaine into the nostrils.  The immediate, intense euphoria of smoking crack cocaine wears off more quickly than when the drug is sniffed.  Then the user becomes anxious, irritable and deeply depressed and craves another dose to relieve the depression. Cocaine can be snorted into the nose as a powder or injected by needle.  It can be smoked in the form of crack or rock.


  • the person’s appetite will decrease
  • the person will be more alert and have more energy and will not get tired easily
  • the person’s heart rate, blood pressure  breathing will speed up and there is a risk of burst blood vessels or heart failure
  • the person’s pupils will be enlarged and their appetite decreased
  • the person may act bizarre or be violent; they may experience paranoid psychosis, like feeling a sensation of having something crawling under their skin
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