Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

Crystal Meth

A 16 year old suburban high school student asks, “ I heard some students talking about Crystal Meth saying that it gives you lots of energy, makes you feel good and is pretty cheap. I have stayed clear of any regular drug use but feeling good is really appealing. What do you think about this issue?”

What stood out to me most in your question is your desire to feel good. I am not sure if that is because you have unrealistic expectations about feeling good, you are having trouble with depression, or you just what to experience what “feeling good…feeling this high” is all about.

There are lots of things that you can put in your body like alcohol or other drugs that will make you feel good. The good feeling is of course temporary, has certain side affects, and has a down side that is complicated and often disastrous. Crystal Meth has many street names but they all relate to a chemical compound that creates a temporary burst of energy, heightened awareness and sense of well being. These feelings come from artificially stimulating the pleasure areas of your brain and causing your system to pump in extra adrenaline. This can also cause paranoia, increased anxiety, psychosis, stroke and heart failure. I will provide links for factual information on methamphetamine below so I don’t want to get too heavy on the physiological stuff here. What I do want to emphasize is that anytime you short circuit the body’s natural processes to say, feel good (our happy brain chemicals of serotonin and dopamine), you hamper your natural brain chemistry and cause dependence. While the artificial high may be intense (and very short lived), the crash and resulting low and depression lasts for days and days. So, simply put, if your goal is to feel good you will. But this good feeling will be followed by a crushing bad feeling that lasts longer and interrupts your brains ability to produce and use ‘happy’ chemicals naturally. You only get one brain and if you screw it up you may not be able to undo the damage as it will be permanent.

Adolescence is a time of life often marked by highs and lows. Adjust your expectations of how you ‘should’ feel to reflect this fact. The culture we live in also promotes the idea of the quick fix and that we should not have to endure suffering and pain. CRAP! There are few if any real quick fixes and life has suffering and pain and well as happiness and joy. The trick is to figure out how to live life with all of its realities as best you can. If you find that you rarely feel good then you may want to talk to your parents or guidance counselor to see if you are having problems with depression of whatever cause.

The young gay and bisexual community have to be particularly aware of the connection between HIV and methamphetamine. About 50% of new reported cases of HIV are linked to poor judgement under the influence of Crystal.

For more information on methamphetamine see www.tweaker.org. For local information and support for a methamphetamine problem see the Pride Center of WNY at www.pridecenterwny.org.

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