There has been a "gradual rise" in the use of the class A drug crystal meth, a police report has suggested.
Photographs from the US show the effects of smoking crystal meth
The Association of Chief Police Officers warns that vigilance is needed to stop the use of the drug escalating, as it has in other countries.
Crystal meth is a form of amphetamine which has been crystallised so that it can be smoked.
The Home Office says that it is not complacent about the drug, but the current number of users remains low.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) report compares the growth in the UK with the pattern of use in Australia and the US where it has reached epidemic levels in some areas.
Det Sgt Andy Waite, who wrote the internal report for senior Acpo members, told the BBC that police had seen "a gradual rise in the reporting of the use and manufacturing of the drug" in the UK in the last two to three years.
He said the increased use and production of the drug in the UK was "something we are alarmed about" and is being monitored by police.
He said: "Around 1998 the Australians had experienced a few significant productions, a few significant seizures.
"Across their country there was a small but growing use of the drug, and that's where we are in the UK now."
Amphetamines are synthetic stimulants varying in purity
Methamphetamines are a stronger version, usually powder, crystals or tablets
Effects range from increased confidence to euphoria
Users can party for long periods
Side effects include psychological dependence and psychosis
Depression and lethargy can set in during comedown
However, he said it was important to maintain a sense of perspective, pointing out that the problem in the UK is "still relatively minor".
These sentiments were echoed by Martin Barnes from the charity DrugScope, who said it was right for officials to be concerned - but not overly so.
He said: "Internationally there's clear evidence that it can have very serious consequences for mental health, physical health. The manufacture is actually quite dangerous. And that's the concern about this drug, that it is particularly unpleasant and harmful.
"So it's right that we're vigilant and we're cautious, but at the same time we risk being alarmist as well."
The first crystal meth factory was found in the UK in 2005 and the police have found another 19 since.
The drug was reclassified as a class A substance in the UK in an attempt to clamp down on its use in January last year.
People who use methamphetamine - the drug's proper name - face up to seven years in jail and an unlimited fine, while dealers could be jailed for life.
It can give a massive high to users, but they can quickly become dependent and it can lead to serious mental health problems.
Paranoia, kidney failure, violence, internal bleeding and less inhibited sexual behaviour, are among the reported side effects of the drug.
Other risks associated with the synthetic stimulant, which can be smoked or injected, include depression and tooth decay.
Dr Rebecca McKetin, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Australia, told the BBC even recreational use of the drug was dangerous.
She said: "People are thinking, 'oh, it's ok to go out and smoke it with my friends on a Friday night when I go to the club.' But it kind of creeps up on them and quite a lot of those people are starting to experience problems with their methamphetamine use.
"And I think people here are starting to learn that this is not typical of, you know, a recreational kind of drug. It is actually a very addictive and potentially very dangerous drug."