Illegal drugs are controlled substances regulated by law. It is illegal to import, manufacture, distribute, possess or use them for anything except what was originally intended.
They are divided into five schedules or groups determined by their use and potential for abuse. Practitioners who prescribe drugs and pharmacies that dispense them are licensed by the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) of the Justice Department.
Methamphetamine hydrochloride (or one of its many synonyms) is a Schedule II drug (some medical use and high potential for abuse). It acts on the central nervous system as a stimulant. Since it is a controlled substance, it requires a prescription. It has a trade name, Desoxyn, and is used to treat narcolepsy, ADD, depression, and occasionally, obesity.
Meth becomes an illegal drug when it is possessed, manufactured, distributed or used without a prescription. The connection to over-the-counter drugs is that one of the three main ingredients is found in many cold remedies. It is known as pseudoephedrine. The pseudoephedrine is 'cooked' and extracted until it forms a powder. Further chemical reactions turn it into either d-methamphetamine or a purer form known as crystal meth.
They can be injected or smoked and are highly addictive. Crystal meth has been called the poor man's cocaine. It is estimated that some 12 million Americans and 5% of high school kids have used this drug. An estimated 1.5 million are regular users.
Its side effects are many from the addiction to hepatitis. As a club drug, there is the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. It causes personality changes including paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, as well as sleeplessness, heart conditions, and disfigurement.
It is not cool to do 'ice.' It is illegal and it can be deadly.