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What Is Tik?

Tik or Crystal Meth

Tik is the South African street name for crystal methamphetamine. Tik is a powerful stimulant that acts on the central nervous system. People who use tik normally use it for recreational purposes. Tik is highly addictive and users normally get hooked soon after experimenting with it. Tik has become the drug of choice in poor communities because it’s cheap and readily available.

Tik’s effects are intense and can last long, when the drug wears off it leaves the user feeling agitated and with a depressed mood. It is at this point that the person wants to use again to avoid  the feel of “coming down” from the drug.


Tik is either sold in its crystal form or sometimes it is crushed to form a powder. The drug is sold in small bags or straws and the price ranges from R15 for a small amount to R300 for a gram. Tik is usually smoked in a glass pipe or a light bulb that has had its filament removed. Tik is also sorted and injected.


Tik is an extremely powerful drug that takes effect instantly if it’s injected or smoked; it has a lag time of about half an hour if it’s snorted or swallowed. The instant effects are pleasurable, but the after-effects are awful. The long-term effects are even worse.



Pleasant side-effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Heightened sense of contentment and satisfaction – no worries in the world.
  • Confidence
  • Energy
  • Power
  • Gratitude

Unpleasant side-effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Headache
  • Cramps

Long-term side-effects

  • Malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Meth mouth – rotten and broken teeth caused by poor oral hygiene and constant grinding.
  • Mental disorders – tik psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Heart attack
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Tik addiction

There are few drugs more addictive than tik. What’s worse is that it doesn’t take long for psychological and physical dependence to set in. Relapse rates with tik are very high because it’s difficult to work through the severity of the physical withdrawal symptoms and to get over the psychological cravings. In-patient rehabilitation is necessary to treat tik addiction because addicts need to be physically removed from the enabling environment, and they need the enforced structure and holistic therapy to break the destructive behaviour patterns and ways of thinking that keep them in the addiction cycle.