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Alcohol & Other Drugs

Safer Smoking: Crack and crystal meth

Reduce your risk of burns, infections, disease, overdose, nutrition problems and dehydration

Author: Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research

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You and safer smoking

Before you start.

Know your dealer. It’s best to choose someone you feel safe with and who knows about the drugs they sell.

Take vitamins or eat something. You may not feel like eating when high.

Find a buddy. Using alone means no one will be there to help you if you overdose.

Find a safe place. Being relaxed and not in a hurry makes smoking easier and therefore safer.

Bring condoms and lube with you. Stimulant drugs can increase your sex drive.

Clean your hands and your own mouthpiece. Use soap and water or alcohol swabs to wash away germs that could go in your mouth.

To reduce risk.

Start with a small amount. If you don’t know how strong the drug is, this can help reduce your risk of overdose.

Use your own mouthpiece or pipe. This will help you avoid getting or spreading infection.

Use a shatterproof Pyrex pipe. Other pipes can get too hot or give off toxic fumes.

Avoid using broken or cracked pipes. Damaged pipes can lead to burns, cuts and infections.

Drink water, use lip balm and chew gum. These things will help keep your mouth moist and reduce cracks, blisters and risk of infection.

When preparing to smoke meth.

Make sure the drug is in the right part of the pipe bowl. If necessary, tap pipe gently.

Avoid burning your fingers. Hold the pipe halfway down the stem.

Apply heat to the bowl. Keep the heat source moving around until smoke fills the pipe (so the bowl won’t crack).

When preparing to smoke crack.

Use screens instead of Brillo (steel wool). Brillo can break apart and be inhaled, and its coating can make you sick.

Pack five screens into your pipe. This is safest. If you prefer, it’s okay to wrap the brass screens completely around the Brillo and use them together as a screen.

Use a wooden push stick. Wood is less likely than metal to damage the pipe.

When smoking.

Inhale slowly. This will help prevent burning your lungs.

Exhale immediately. Holding it in doesn’t make the effects stronger—it only hurts the lungs more.

Handle the pipe with care. It’ll be hot after using it.

Did you know.

Eating when you’re coming down will help you sleep.

Smoking any illegal drug is risky because you can never know for sure what's in it or how it was made. But there are also risks involved in how you smoke. Here are some ways to reduce those risks.