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Amphetamines

Aka: Speed, Sulphate, sulph, whiz


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.

What are Amphetamines?

Amphetamine sulphate is a man made drug that usually comes in a white, grey, pink or yellow powder or pill/tablet form. It may be taken by mouth, dissolved in water, injected, sniffed up the nose, or smoked.

There are three main pharmaceutical classes of amphetamine (the common brand names are in brackets): laevo or dl-amphetamine (Benzedrine), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methylamphetamine (Methedrine). The latter is also known as crystal meth and is the most potent of the three.

What are the effects of Amphetamines?

  • Amphetamine is a stimulant, which quickens the heartbeat. The effects tend to set in about 30 minutes after taking the drug.
  • Users may experience increased confidence, sociability and energy levels.
  • Sometimes users feel anxious and restless and may panic and feel everyone is getting at them.
  • A tense jaw and teeth grinding are also common.
  • As it wears off people may feel very tired and depressed. Feelings of irritability, anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, depression and tremors may occur.
  • Insomnia is very common and can keep users awake for days afterwards. Large amounts can cause panic, paranoia and hallucinations.

What are the risks of Amphetamines?

  • Increased blood pressure can also rupture or block tiny blood vessels. If this happens in the brain, it can lead to paralysis or coma.
  • Injecting can damage veins and lead to gangrene. Injection also puts users at risk of dangerous infections such as Hepatitis and HIV, from contaminated needles, syringes and other equipment.
  • The comedown can last for a couple of days, leaving users feeling tired, depressed, irritable and physically uncomfortable.
  • Disruption of sleep and eating patterns may lead to regular users weight loss and becoming very physically run down. This can reduce resistance to illness like cold and flu.
  • Heavy, regular users may become very depressed and paranoid. Taken over a period of time, this can cause psychotic mental illness to develop.

What does the law say about Amphetamines?

The Misuse of Drugs Acts controls most of the amphetamine type drugs. Their unauthorised production, supply or possession is an offence, as is allowing premises to be used for producing or supplying the drugs.

First-Aid responses

  • Calm the person down and reassure them that everything is alright.
  • Talk quietly and explain that the panicky feeling will gradually go.
  • Keep them away from loud noises and bright lights.
  • Encourage them to breathe slowly and deeply to prevent hyperventilation.
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Published February 27th, 2013
Last updated October 28th, 2015
Tags drugs addiction
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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