Crystal meth is colorless, odorless, and bitter-tasting crystalline drug. The crystal form, and rock-like appearance is the reason why it is called mkpuru mmiri, meaning “rock of the water” in the Igbo language.
Crystal methamphetamine is a form of d-amphetamine. Methamphetamine was originally made to act as nasal decongestant, and bronchial inhaler.
It is more potent and concentrated than powdered meth. Therefore, the euphoric effect is much intense, and it lasts longer than the powdered form with the effect felt after over 24 hours. Other forms of meth are methamphetamine tablets, liquid meth.
Crystal meth, anglicized “mkpuru mmiri” in the Igbo language is a highly addictive drug. In fact, it is more addictive than cocaine since it last longer. The long duration of action is because the metabolism is slow prolonging the stimulant effect.
It has been nicknamed several names in the streets such as ice, glass, crystal, shabu, cristy, blade in the United States where the addiction is very rampant.
Many celebrities, artists, and sportsmen have been guilty of abusing this substance. Former boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao has confessed to using crystal meth as a youth. Andre Agassi, former tennis no. 1 and champion tested positive for crystal meth use.
Alongside cocaine, crystal meth is a Controlled substance (Schedule 2). It is illegal to use the drug for recreational purposes. Only medicinal and professional manufacture and use of the drug is allowed. For example, it is used for shor-term treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy etc.
Recently, there has been spike in the use of mkpuru mmiri in Nigeria, especially in the South East region. A viral video circulated on the social media showcases a young man, obviously confused and who was under the effect of the drug.
How the drug became popular and well distributed in the South East is still a mystery. There has been increasing reports of consumption of the illicit drugs in majorly Anambra and Imo states.
The drug is said to have been brought by Mexican drug-traffickers into the country. Some local labs have also been uncovered. In 2019, the NDLEA (the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency) closed two labs that produce meth in Enugu.
The NDLEA also launched the Offensive Action campaign resulting in the arrest of many suspects, seizure of several kgs of the drug and closure of many labs across the country.
Most abusers of crystal meth smoke it with glass pipes. But some addicts who want immediate and intense effects use injection. The injection form is responsible for the spread of HIV, Hepatitis B, and C, tuberculosis among needle sharers.
Many users of this drug use it to enhance their sexual appetite. Performers take it because it increases motivation, and motor functions.
How does Crystal meth work?
Crystal meth (mkpuru mmiri) is a very potent central nervous stimulant. It stimulates the dopamine receptor to release dopamine and block its uptake thereby creating a sense of euphoria. It also gives high level of energy and mental alertness even if the person has not slept.
A person taking crystal meth appears restless, talks very fast with so many ideation.
Components of Crystal meth
You have to look at the component of crystal meth first. The drug is made from household ingredients cooked together in meth lab. The process of cooking produces dangerous chemicals. Unlike cocaine that has plant sources, crystal meth is artificially made.
Over-the-counter medications for cold – ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, are the main components.
Other components are toluene (from brake fluids), ether or chloroform, lithium (car batteries), acetone (nail polish remover), anhydrous ammonia (from household cleaners), alcohol, benzene or gasoline, phosphorus (from flares), freon (from air-conditioners), sulphuric acid or HCl (cleaners).
You can see how dangerous these chemicals are.
The dangers of Crystal meth (mkpuru mmiri)
The production od crystal meth involves very dangerous chemicals. Some of the adverse effects associated with the drug include respiratory complications and lung damage.
The phosphorus and other chemicals in the drug are corrosive causing dentition and skin absecss. Long-term use can cause physical decline, memory loss, organ damages especially the brain.
Crystal meth causes elevated blood pressure, heart rate, stroke, and inflammation in the heart linings.
Violent behavior, insomnia, paranoia and hallucination are also noticeable.
Crystal meth (mkpuru mmiri) also causes loss of appetite increasing the risk of weight loss, and malnutrition in abusers.
Overdose can cause increased mouth dryness, body temperature, convulsion, and death.
A pregnant woman taking meth may have premature birth, undersized babies, babies with poor brain function, and more.
It is very important not to indulge in any drug abuse because it is more difficult to stop. Addiction to any of these substances can cause serious financial issues, health implications, and even death.
Taking crystal meth over a long time will lead to tolerance. A situation whereby you need a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect.
Also, when an addict of crystal meth stops taking the drug, he will likely face withdrawal syndrome. The syndrome is characterised by depression, psychosis, craving for the meth, and suicidal thoughts. This is why it is better not to start at all.