A Girl Named Crystal

Clawing your way out of the clutches of a comedown from a bender can really change your perceptions of a drug; it’s all fun and games until the next day (or the next, or the next). This particular drug was crystal meth. I had been out all night and half of the next day when, on an average night, I could easily be looking for an exit by midnight.

Instead, my night was a whirlwind that ended with a motherfucker of a comedown and with me crying watching Disney movies in bed on a Sunday. I was unable to sleep for about 24 hours after the last time I had a hit, which was about 12 hours after my first hit. Never in all my years of on/off recreational drug use, dabbling every few months or so in anything from acid to coke, had I had such a paranoid, frenetic comedown. My eyeballs were peeling out of my head, blood vessels popping. I was literally cracked.

Meth. Crack. Ice. Shabs. Crystal. Tina.  All the names used for methamphetamine, the drug used by an increasing number of Australians, some on a day-to-day basis.

Some media sensationalists are warning of a looming “drug epidemic” in Australia. The use of crystal meth in Australia has indeed increased by 10% since 2011. The number and weight of ATS (Amphetamine-Type Stimulants) intercepts at the Australian border has also increased dramatically in the year 2012-2013 and is the highest it has been in a decade.

Ice doesn’t necessarily need to be imported, though. Anyone with a kitchen and the right raw materials can create it if they know how. It’s for this reason, and its ease of use, that makes ice such an affordable staple in the lives of a rising number of Australians.

Ice has advantages in its subtleties – one might never realise that they were friends with a regular user. You could be on it every day and no one around you could know. It allows you to go about your daily business, with increased vigor and energy. I had heard people talk about the ice diet – people going on benders and not eating for days which made people lose weight fast (until the next time). This kind of drew me in, but after my one night experience I pretty quickly learned that this wouldn’t be sustainable as a diet without going batshit crazy.

Our dealer for the night, Kenny*, told me he smokes ice every morning before work. He saw nothing wrong with this. “No one knows you’re on it. You can’t really smell it or taste it, so no one would even realise you were on it.”  He drives, works, even forces himself to eat while on it.

All in all, I was strangely disappointed with my whole experience with the drug. When I asked friends what to expect beforehand, they said it was like a rush of energy, similar to cocaine. I certainly got a rush, but there was none of that confidence and energetic, bonding-shit-talk-between-friends that happens with coke. Instead I felt a seediness, and a desire to run around, to clean, to dance, to move. Most of all I felt a frantic, almost insane urge to keep going and going and to have more and more. In the depths of the bender I certainly felt the niggling pull of the substance, more than anything I have had before, more than even the best quality cocaine I’ve had. Maybe the seediness I was feeling was simply a premeditated reaction to the stigma behind the drug, or maybe I was just already coming down in the wee hours of the morning. I could see how people could get caught up in weeklong benders.

Before I knew it, it was sunrise, and seemingly the next minute, it was 10am, then 12:30pm, after which I decided it was well past my bedtime. I couldn’t sleep until the following day and in between my mind drove me almost to breaking point. A week later I still felt captured in the throes of depression when usually after a huge weekend I’d be fine by Tuesday latest.

I would never have ice again, not because of the stigma behind it but because I didn’t particularly enjoy it. If I had to have anything I’d much prefer the up-down highs of MDMA or the searing confidence of cocaine or even just the subtle, rocking drowsy slow-moving madness that is alcohol. My advice: choose your poison wisely.

Sidenote: Australia has recently ranked 1st in recreational drug use. Take from that what you will