It’s amazing how swiftly tina (crystal meth) works with her powerful draw. One day, you think you can dabble in it as occasionally as any other drug, and on the next, you realize your want for the drug is overpowering you. If you are even paying attention.

Many of those using this drug don’t want to pay attention to the truth, because the reality of the fact that the drug is controlling you is too scary to handle, and because you're having too much damn fun.

I’m not going to go into the details of the side effects of the drug- that can be found elsewhere- I just want to share a small portion of the grittier things I have seen while dealing with tina. I can’t lie about the fact that I have had some incredibly enjoyable times on the stuff (there’s the draw, yo), but I’m now in attempt, along with my boyfriend, to flee the stuff. I’d like to remember the good times we’ve had, to be able to recall the wild times relatively fondly, without the dreadful damage it can do once an individual crosses the line from occasional partying to needing it simply to get by. I’d like to pull out of it before I become impregnated with a crippling addiction.

Tina, meth, shards, ice, crystal. A tiny portion of the stuff can keep you up for hours on end. A quarter gram would keep one person up for approximately three days. The average way it is sold is in quarter bags- ranging from $40-$60 a pop. White like cocaine, but much harsher with its sting if you opt to snort it. (It can also be smoked.) The fact that such a minimal amount can keep you revved up for so long is part of the reason why one can find so many people staying up for weeks on the shit. The other part of the reason is the obviously addictive emotion of complete pleasure it offers. The longest period of time I’ve been up on it was three days, on two occasions- and that frightened me enough. I’ve known people to stay awake for over two weeks.

Even when I was high and happy on the ice, witnessing girls as young as 14 who have been up for seven days- knowing the disturbing amount of jeopardy they are putting their futures in- is saddening. I know I am endangering myself, but it hurts to see so many others in the same situation as well, worse off and/or younger. I have watched a handful of people, having been up on the stuff for over a week in a highly delusional state, pick at a rug for hours with tweezers, thinking they are finding more granules of tina. I’ve watched a girl who is dying of cancer use the drug on a daily basis- have watched her lie about losing bags at parties when she actually snorted all of it up herself in secret. I watched a dealer hot rail a gram of the stuff as an appetizer before beginning his main course.

From a conversation I overheard of a friend who was looking to quit the drug:

One girl: “Hey, have you seen Tina anywhere tonight?”
Friend: “Not yet, but I am looking for Anita. Anita Fix.”

The slang term “tina” comes from Crystal: Kristeen: Tina. It also puts the metabolism on ludicrous speed, making one lose a significant amount of weight even if they only do it occasionally. Prior to ever trying meth, a friend of mine joked about seeing a T-shirt once that read “Body by Tina.” We laughed, but I don’t find it amusing anymore. I’ve watched people who get seduced by the drug shrink dramatically- losing minerals and body mass- some to the point where they appear skeletal. Hanging out with a group one morning, a waif-thin girl went on and on to me about how the drug is so awful, taking breaks to smoke it as she spoke. How after being up because of it for days, her boyfriend went berserk in his delusions and railed on her for cheating and getting more meth from the guy she was cheating on him with. And she’d never even left their apartment.

While on tina, the want for tasks is great, and one seeks them out in their inebriated state. I have found myself up at 5 a.m. in my apartment arranging the shoes in my closet, and it made me feel good. If someone loses something at a party, I love trying to find the missing item when I am on tina. Missions give you an extra high. Late-night at a party once, I was at the task of tidying up a room a bunch of us druggies were residing in. One guy, who was high on his preferred drug, coke, warned me of the dangers of meth. “It eats away at your soul,” he said.

That phrase stuck with me. It is true. Even after you have come down, for weeks you can be highly self-absorbed, intensely cranky and impatient, tired and paranoid. The more you do, the worse the down. And even after a down, you still crave more. I thought I’d be able to maintain control over tina, (I don’t have an addictive personality- sure I can handle it) but before you can recognize the change, crystal meth subtly begins controlling you. I want to get out of this. I don’t want to ever hear my wonderful, innocent grandmother again say “Sweetheart, your eyes don’t look as green as they usually do."

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