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A-Z of Drugs

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A-Z of drugs

 of Drugs

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Amphetamines

Also known as:

Speed, whiz, uppers, amph, billy, sulphate, grudge, dexys, blues, uppers, wake ups, bennies, dexies, black beauties, jollies, crazy medicine, yaba, crystal meth, ice, base, sulph and crazy horse.

Amphetamines and the law

Amphetamines are a Class B drug but if they are injected they become a Class A drug.

What are amphetamines?

Amphetamines are man made drugs which stimulate the nervous system.  

What do they look like?

They have a bitter taste and usually come as a white, greyish white, pale pink or yellow powder but can sometimes be found as a brightly coloured tablet.   The strongest and most addictive form is methamphetamine which not only comes in the usual powder and pill forms but also as a translucent crystal known as ice which is usually smoked.

How are they used?

Amphetamines can be snorted, injected, swallowed, smoked or dissolved in a drink.

What are the effects?

As amphetamines are stimulant drugs the effects are very much like an adrenalin rush.   The body's temperature increases, breathing and heart rate speed up, the appetite is suppressed and users feel energetic and confident.   A battle between the stimulant effects of the drug and the body trying to rest causes the user to feel anxious, irritable and restless.  

When do the effects start and how long do they last?

The speed and intensity of the effects depend on how it's taken.   If it is snorted the effects appear within about 5 to 10 minutes, swallowed it usually takes about half an hour whereas if it is injected it gives an almost instantaneous effect.  

What are the risks?                            

High doses of amphetamine, especially if repeated frequently over a period of days, can produce delirium, paranoia and hallucinations as well as risking infections through the use of contaminated needles.

Heavy long-term use or a single massive dose can induce amphetamine psychosis, a frightening mental state with similar symptoms to schizophrenia.   An overdose of amphetamines can be fatal and mixing amphetamines with other drugs increases the risk.

Are they addictive?

The regular use of amphetamines means the body develops a tolerance, and larger doses of the drug are needed to achieve the same effect.   Some people may find that it is hard to do without the drug as they feel more able to cope when it is in their system.

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Stoke-on-Trent Drug and Alcohol Action Team, First Floor, Civic Centre, Glebe St, Stoke on Trent, ST4 1WR
Tel: 01782 235708 . Fax: 01782 235003 . E-mail: drugactionteam@stoke.gov.uk