The Effects of TIK / Crystal Meth

"Meth Mouth"

Crystal methamphetamine is a colorless, odorless form of d-methamphetamine, a powerful and highly addictive synthetic (man-made) stimulant. The shortened name is simply 'meth', It is known colloquially as "TIK" because of the interesting sound produced when crystals are placed in a lolly (usually a lightbulb) and then lit, producing a "TIK-tik" sound. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth, ice, Tina, or glass and tik, to name a few.

TIK typically resembles small fragments of glass or shiny blue-white "rocks" of various sizes. TIK is abused because of the long-lasting euphoric effects it produces. TIK, however, typically has a higher purity level and may produce even longer-lasting and more intense physiological effects than other drugs.

TIK, when consumed, over-excites the central nervous system, makes users feel paranoid, fearful and anxious, and they report sweats, chills and exhaustion. The effect of TIK on the brain can also induce a tremor similar to Parkinson's disease.

Here are more effects that can be associated from smoking or consuming TIK:

Common Immediate Effects

  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loss of appetite, insomnia, tremors, jaw-clenching
  • Agitation, irritability, talkativeness, panic, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, violence, confusion
  • Increased libido
  • Increased blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, blood sugar levels, bronchodilation
  • Constriction of the walls of the arteries
  • In pregnant and nursing women, methamphetamine crosses the placenta and is secreted in breast milk ? you would actually be breastfeeding your child drugs

Effects Associated with Chronic Use

  • Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect)
  • Drug craving
  • Temporary weight loss
  • Withdrawal symptoms including depression and anhedonia
  • "Meth Mouth" where teeth rapidly decay and fall out
  • Drug-related psychosis (may last for months or years after drug use is discontinued)

Effects of Overdose

  • Brain damage
  • Sensation of flesh crawling (formication)
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, tension headache
  • Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) which can lead to kidney damage or failure
  • Death due to stroke, cardiac arrest or elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)

Parents be aware of the symptoms and keep a watchful eye should any of the above become visible in your family members.

People who use the drug can stay awake for hours and sometimes up to 3-4 days continuously - monitor your childs sleeping patterns. If your child asks for money in excess of R25 all the time, become suspicious. Watch the contents of your home and monitor it should anything disappear without an intruder invading your space. Addicts will steal from their own sibling, parents and family to succumb to their TIK cravings.

At the moment Cape Town is the hardest hit with the drug, and our children use the drug because it is the in thing. Speak to your children, inform them of the dangers of the drug and inspire them to study hard and to take up sport instead of being lonely, bored or idle at home.

More importantly, spend time with your children and become interested in the things they do, also answer their questions openly and honestly. In doing so - they will be better prepared to deal with the things and situations that face them in the future.

If you, your child or a family members` addictions is so far that you cannot help them, contact the Toll free 24/7 helpline: 0800 HELP 4 U (0800 435 748). The operators are fluent in isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans. 

There are 3 City outpatients Alcohol and Drug Treatments Centres in Cape Town. The programme uses the Matrix Model of treatment, which was developed in the USA and stresses the importance of delivering educational information, encouraging family participation, teaching relapse prevention skills and advocating self-help involvement.

The model is used in more than a dozen countries in which methamphetamine (tik) abuse has been a specific challenge, and was chosen because it has delivered empirically proven results in countries that have had tik abuse problems for far longer than South Africa.

For more information please contact a Centre nearest to you.

  • Tafelsig Matrix Centre 021 397 8195/ 8906
  • Tableview Matrix Centre 021 557 1065/ 556 7103
  • Delft South Matrix Centre 021 955 1010/ 1021

Drug Rehabilitation centers around Cape Town


Page Created: 22 July 2010