Amphetamine (central nervous system stimulant)
One of the compositions for amphetamine is methylated phenylethylamine. The other drug called methamphetamine is basically similar to amphetamine but contains more methylated phenylethylamine. Apart from that, the two drugs are almost identical. Causing the same side effects, dangers, and potential for overdose and the same risk of physical dependence. This substance is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity.
Amphetamine is also referred to as Speed. Like cocaine, it’s a stimulant, meaning it increases a person’s ability to stay awake and even increase focus. It raises the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, and when these chemicals are increased, a person will feel a sense of euphoria and an increase in energy.
Speed, whiz, uppers, amph, billy, sulphate, grudge, dexys, blues, base, ups, wake-ups, bennies, dexies, black beauties, jollies, crazy medicine, yaba, and crazy horse.
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs, and their effects are very much like an adrenaline rush, with breathing and heart rate increasing. The appetite is also suppressed, and users feel energetic and confident, with the effects usually lasting for several hours. The body’s temperature increases, the pupils will become dilated, and there is an increased risk of dehydration.
What are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines are human-made drugs with a bitter taste and usually come as a white, greyish white, pale pink, or yellow powder, and sometimes as a brightly coloured tablet. Amphetamines can be snorted, swallowed, injected, dissolved in a drink, or smoked.
These substances have only limited medical applications because of their abuse and harm potential. In Canada, they are used to treat narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Parkinson’s.
They are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies for medical use, while illegal labs manufacture most for non-medical purposes. Amphetamines, also referred to as amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), were developed in the 1920s to treat depression and obesity, but stringent controls have greatly reduced medical use in Canada.
These substances are powerful stimulants with effects similar to cocaine. At low doses, they generally include increased alertness and energy, a feeling of well-being, decreased appetite, rapid heartbeat and breathing. Increased blood pressure, sweating, dilated pupils, and dry mouth is also present. A person may become talkative, restless or excited, or may feel powerful, superior, aggressive or hostile, or may behave in a bizarre, repetitive fashion.
Appearance and Use;
Amphetamines like speed are usually sold in wraps like cocaine. The powder is off-white or pinkish and can sometimes look like small crystals. Base speed is purer and is a pinkish-grey colour, and feels like putty.
Prescription amphetamines like dexamphetamine are usually small white pills.
Speed’s either dabbed onto the gums or sniffed in lines like cocaine using a rolled-up banknote. Sometimes it’s rolled up in cigarette paper and swallowed. This is called a speed-bomb. It can be mixed in drinks or injected.
After about half an hour if ingested but much quicker if injected or smoked (methamphetamine), the effects kick in after about half an hour and can last for up to six hours. But it all depends on the quality of the speed. A long slow comedown follows the high.
- Speed makes people feel wide awake, excited, and chatty. Clubbers take it because it gives them the energy to dance for hours without getting knackered.
- Speed was once the main ingredient in diet pills because it stops people from feeling hungry.
There is a flip side:
- It’s impossible to sit still or sleep on speed.
- The comedown can make users feel irritable and depressed and can last for one or two days.
- Speed makes some people panicky. Sniff a lot in a short space of time and expect hallucinations.
What Are the Risks?
The regular use of amphetamines means the body develops a tolerance, and larger doses of the drug will be required to achieve the same high, leading to addiction.
Anybody who takes amphetamines for long enough may suffer from paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations, as well as risking infections such as hepatitis and HIV through contaminated needles. Some users become tense and anxious after taking amphetamines and can be tired and depressed for several days. High repeated doses could lead to panic attacks and hallucinations and place a serious strain on the heart.
The comedown from just one use can take a couple of days, sometimes longer, and concentration and memory will be affected. Subsequently, heavy long-term use can also lead to problems with mental illness. An overdose of amphetamines can be fatal, and mixing amphetamines with other drugs increases the danger significantly.
- Avoid taking speed and anti-depressants or alcohol. This combination has been known to be fatal.
- Speed puts a strain on your heart. It’s bad news for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition. An overdose can be fatal.
- Taking a lot of speed can give your immune system a battering. You could get more colds, flu, and sore throats if you use it a lot.
- Speed can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression, and mental illness, such as psychosis and paranoid feelings.
- Sniffing a lot of speed, and you’re sneezing lumps out of your nose into a hanky.
- Injecting any drug can cause vein damage, ulcers, and gangrene. Dirty or shared needles and injecting works can help the spread of hepatitis and HIV. Injecting speed is particularly dangerous because it’s cut with so much crap.
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse
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