Smokable ( ice , crystal meth ) and non smokable amphetamine-type stimulants: clinical pharmacological and epidemiological issues, with special reference to the UK
“Ice”, “crystal meth”, is the smokable form of methamphetamine hydrochloride. This paper will comment on the pharmacological, epidemiological, clinical and social issues related to smoking the drug as opposed to either its injection or ingestion. Furthermore, some data related to amphetamines/methamphetamines consumption, request for treatment, seizures, related offences and deaths in the UK (1990-2002) will be offered here. Peak rates, for most indicators, were reached at the end of the ’90s, to fall down in the following years. The only indicator which seemed not to show any declining rates is number of deaths, but this may be related to a more general increase in stimulant death rates recently observed in the UK. It is argued that methamphetamines, and particularly “crystal meth”, could reach the same prevalence levels of use in the UK as it is already in the US but recent reclassification of the drug to Class A in the UK could help to better control this emerging issue.