Crystal meth is the short form for crystal methamphetamine. It is a white crystalline drug that people take by inhaling, smoking or injection. It works by increasing the amount of dopamine released which is a feel good chemical in the body. The drug creates a false sense of happiness and well-being therefore the user becomes addicted as they desire to experience the feeling of confidence, hyper activeness and energy. Drug effects last 8-10 hours generally but can also last up to 24 hours. It has many street names such as meth, crank, chalk or speed among others.

 

   Crystal methamphetamine powder

meth crystals               

Crystal methamphetamine ctystals                            

 Meth Powder

In Kenya, the possession, use and trafficking of crystal methamphetamine is prohibited by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act (Act No. 12 of 1994). Under this act, crystal methamphetamine is a psychotropic substance under the 2nd Schedule of the act. As such:
1) A person found in guilty of being in possession of crystal methamphetamine shall be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in the event that they can convince the court that they were only planning to use it for themselves.


2) Where the person is unable to convince the court that they had the crystal methamphetamine exclusively for their own use, they shall pay a fine of at least sh 1,000,000 or three times the market value of the crystal methamphetamine that they were found with.** Alternatively, they shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life or be made to pay the fine and be imprisoned as well.


3) Trafficking crystal methamphetamine is an offence for which a person found guilty shall be fined sh 1,000,000** and imprisoned for life.


4) Other acts that are deemed to be connected to the use of crystal methamphetamine such as:
a) use of psychotropic substances
b) being in a room where psychotropic substances are being used
c) being the owner of a building or premises on which psychotropic substances are being manufactured or prepared and consenting to the manufacturing and preparation of the substances
d) being in possession of the utensils used to administer these drugs such as pipes or syringes
carry a fine of sh 250,000 or imprisonment of not more than 10 years or both a fine and imprisonment.

 

**The choice of fine depends on whichever of the two is greater- if the market value of the crystal methamphetamine is less than sh 1,000,000 then the person shall be fined sh 1,000,0000. If the price of the crystal methamphetamine the person is found with is more than sh 1,000,000 then the person shall be fined the cost of three times the market value of the crystal methamphetamine they were found with

                                                      

 

Effects of using crystal methamphetamine:

 

Physiological effects:

Increased heart rate
High temperature

Rapid breathing

 

Psychological effects:

Alertness
Paranoia

Hallucinations
Appetite suppression
Agitation
Poor judgment
Insomnia

Physical effects:

Discolouring and rotting of teeth                                                 

teeth     

Sores

 meth addict sore               

 

Extreme weight loss                                                                                                          

weightloss

Withdrawal symptoms:

Depression
Fatigue
Changes in heart rhythm. Meth causes irregular heartbeats which change once an addict withdraws from the drug
Sleeplessness
Intense craving for the drug

 

Treatment:

Addiction to meth is treated by going through rehabilitation programmes. These assist them while they go through the above withdrawal symptoms. Other ways to deal with withdrawal symptoms include: administration of vitamins, rest, exercise and healthy nutrition. Actual symptoms of withdrawal can end in 3 days but the emotional upheaval and cravings last longer.


Rehabilitation programmes also give addicts the tools they need to remain sober such as therapy and a support system.