MethHelp is now The Level, a straight up guide for people who use drugs.

All the information you’re familiar with is still available here.

If you want to know where to go for support, see our Finding support page or send us an email.

If you want to order resources, including the meth help ones, see our Order resources page.

Otherwise, you can get in touch here

White powder sold as meth in the Wairarapa region has been found to contain fentanyl. It has been linked to 13 hospitalisations. Read more on High Alert.

If you have meth or a white powder and are in the Wellington or Wairarapa region, test it first using fentanyl strips or at a drug checking clinic.

Key things to know

It can be swallowed or mixed into a drink. If you take it this way, wait an hour for the effects to kick in before deciding to take more.

More info

If injecting, visit your local needle exchange for new needles and information on how to be safer.

If smoking, use a glass pipe that’s shatterproof. This can help prevent burns and cuts.

Look after yourself during the comedown and get support if going through withdrawal.

More info

Use drug checking services to make sure it isn't mixed with something else.

More info

Methamphetamine can make you feel hyperactive, paranoid, euphoric and aggressive. The effects of meth can be unpredictable and can change depending on how much you use, how often you use and for how long. The effects of meth usually last 4–12 hours. Remember, a low dose for one person can be a high dose for another as people’s bodies process drugs differently. 

Keep in mind that, when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, meth can have different effects to those listed below.

Pleasant effects

Unpleasant effects

Not feeling hungry

Feeling wide awake and hyper

Sexually aroused

Socially confident

Euphoria

 

Not feeling hungry

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding

Sweaty or very hot or very cold

Headaches

Increased heartrate

Irritable and agitated

Aggressive

Confused

Disoriented

Mood swings

Nauseous

Anxious

Insomnia

Pleasant effects

Unpleasant effects

Increased hyperactivity

Increased euphoria

 

Unpredictable behaviour

Making risky decisions or judgements

Irregular or fast heartbeat

Crawling sensation on your skin

Increasingly anxious

More aggressive or violent

Severe stomach-aches

Severely nauseous

Vomiting

Paranoid

Hallucinations

Pleasant effects

Unpleasant effects

Intense hyperactivity

Intense euphoria

 

Sudden personality changes

Chest pain

Difficulty breathing

Severely anxious

Having serious disturbances in mental abilities (delirium)

Violent

Psychosis

Seizures

Losing consciousness

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How can you be safer when using meth? 

Consider swallowing meth and waiting an hour before redosing. 
Swallowing meth or mixing it into a drink can help avoid the damage that some other methods of using can have on your body. Using meth this way delivers the drug to your body more slowly, so wait for 1 hour before re-dosing as you may not feel the effects straight away. If you re-dose too quickly, you can increase your chance of overdose.

If you are injecting meth, use clean equipment every time. 
Use clean and new needles, filters and butterflies and sterile water every time you inject meth. You can get these from needle exchanges across New Zealand. This helps to reduce skin infections and the transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis that you can get from sharing needles.

Use a glass shatterproof pipe if you are smoking meth. 
These pipes will prevent you from getting cuts or burns when using. If you have a pipe that has a broken edge it is best to avoid using it.  If you can, use a mouthpiece so you don't burn your lips on the pipe. Avoid sharing pipes with others as this can spread disease and infection. 

Test your meth to make sure it isn't mixed with other drugs. 
Meth can be tested at a drug checking clinic with a spectrometer. If you plan on injecting meth, a drug checking clinic may also test it for fentanyl with a testing strip, You can also test meth yourself with reagent tests that you can buy from places like Cosmic and The Hemp Store in New Zealand. You can also buy fentanyl test strips from these stores.

Common doses for meth can be different depending on how you are taking them (orally, injecting, smoking). Visit tripsit for more information on dosing meth. 

If you're thinking about cutting down, MethHelp offers free and confidential nationwide phone counselling. Call 0800 METH HELP (0800 638 443) or you can refer yourself via their website.

To order MethHelp workbooks that support people to make changes to their methamphetamine use and other free resources for safer use, see Resources.

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Overdoses on meth are not uncommon in New Zealand, especially if you use often or in large amounts. If you are using meth, it is helpful to be aware of what an overdose or a bad trip looks like so you or the people around you can act quickly.

You might feel anxious, paranoid, irritable, nauseous or jittery. You might feel hot-and-cold or feel like there's something crawling on your skin.

Try: 

  • Focus on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths.
  • If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm.
  • Do not take more meth, caffeine, alcohol or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse.
  • Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated.

If you have more severe symptoms, like worsening mental health, hallucinations, bladder problems, diarrhea or vomiting, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116). You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs.

Psychosis, trouble breathing, seizures and losing consciousness are a medical emergency. Call 111.

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What do comedowns from meth feel like, and how can you feel better?

 

If you …

Then…

Feel tired

Have trouble concentrating or thinking

Have cravings to use meth

Experience aches and pains

Experience memory problems

Experience mood swings

Feel nauseous

Feel anxious

Feel irritable or agitated

Experience low mood

Experience insomnia

Try these things at home:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Remember to eat and drink plenty of water.
  • Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals.
  • Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support.
  • Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs.
  • Practise mindfulness and deep breathing, and try writing down your thoughts and feelings.

Feel aggressive or severely agitated

Have intense cravings to use meth

Have an irregular heartbeat

Experience ongoing insomnia

Hallucinate

Experience severe anxiety

Experience increased low mood

Feel paranoid

Feel panicked or have a panic attack

Have suicidal thoughts

Have violent thoughts

Call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116)

They can talk you through the next steps.

 

Have trouble breathing

Have severe chest pain

Experience psychosis

Act violently

Attempt suicide

Have a seizure

Lose consciousness

Call 111

These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly.

 

 

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What are the long-term effects of using meth?

Meth can change the way your brain works. It can cause problems for people who use it regularly and over a longer period of time, impacting impulse control, memory, concentration and sleep. It can also increase anxiety, depression and feelings of anger. Some of these effects can fade when you stop using meth, while others can be permanent.

Meth can also have effects on your appearance. People who use meth regularly may have problems such as acne, their face appearing very thin or lacking colour and blackening or rotting of teeth. Other effects include skin wounds from scratching or picking at sores and weight loss.

The more meth you use and the more often you use, the more likely you are to experience serious long-term effects.

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How do you manage withdrawal from methamphetamine?


Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance, which can also mean it is difficult to cut down or stop using.

Withdrawal symptoms can start within 24 hours of when you last used meth. The most severe part of the withdrawal usually lasts 7–10 days, and symptoms start to become less unpleasant after another 2 weeks.

If you're thinking about cutting down, MethHelp offers free and confidential nationwide phone counselling. Call 0800 METH HELP (0800 638 443) or you can refer yourself via their website.

You might:

  • feel tired, hungry, sweaty or nauseous
  • feel anxious, irritable, confused, jittery or down
  • have nightmares
  • get stomach-aches
  • have cravings to use meth

You can try:

  • Follow a tapering plan from a health professional to reduce your dose slowly.
  • Consider counselling or support groups if feelings of anxiety and depression are getting worse.
  • Lean on a support network of friends, family and professionals.
  • Stick to a routine – waking up, eating well, keeping active and rewarding yourself with things that bring you joy.
  • Practise mindfulness by writing down your feelings, doing breathing exercises or meditating.

If you experience severe cravings, have a fever, have violent or suicidal thoughts, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116).

Your doctor may be able to help with other medicines to help you get through withdrawal, or info about rehab or withdrawal clinics in your area – visit Health Point to see what services are available.

Psychosis, seizures, violence and suicide attempts need urgent medical care. Call 111.

The long-term effects of meth use on the brain and body can last for several weeks to several years after you stop using.

See the 'Making changes' page for more information on how to manage withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.

Methamphetamine withdrawal. Here's what to expect when withdrawing from meth. The first three days you can experience exhaustion and low mood. The First week you can experience restlessness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, soreness and cravings. The following weeks you can experience mood swings, low mood, sleep problems and cravings. Things should be settling at this point. Note that it can take many months for your brain to adjust from regular meth use. During the first week you may find that you are more impulsive, have strong emotions and find it difficult to predict the consequences of your actions. Be kind to yourself and try to stay in contact with people who understand and can support you. Remember to call your doctor or the alcohol drug helpline (0800 787 797) if you experience uncommon symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea or suicidal thoughts.

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How can meth affect your daily activities?

Even at low doses, meth can affect your everyday activities. At a single low dose, these effects usually last 4–12 hours. If taken at a large dose, used regularly or mixed with alcohol or other drugs, some effects can last from several weeks to several months.

Methamphetamine can cause unpredictable behaviour, hallucinations and physical symptoms like extreme sweating, shaking and cramps. It can be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery or to do tasks that need concentration. These drugs can cause personality changes, mood swings and hyperactive behaviour, which could make it difficult to interact with others.

Will meth show up on a drug test?

Methamphetamine will usually be tested for in hair, urine, saliva (spit) or blood. The timeframes in which meth can be detected in your body may vary depending on the size of dose you have taken and how long you have used methamphetamine for.

Generally, meth can be detected for 1–7 days in urine, 1–4 days in saliva, 1–3 days in blood and up to 90 days in hair.

Is meth illegal?

Methamphetamine is considered a Class A controlled drug in New Zealand. This means that possessing, buying, selling, making or giving methamphetamine to others is against the law.

You can also get in trouble with the law if you are found to be impaired by methamphetamine while driving.  

To find out more about the law around legal and controlled drugs, including methamphetamine, see Drugs and the law.

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