Also known as
- Amphetamines: Speed, Whizz, Amphetamine Sulphate, Sulph, Billy, Phet.
- Methamphetamines: Crystal Meth, Ice, Glass, Shard, Meth, Crank, Yaba, T, Tina.
- Base amphetamines: Base, Base Speed, Dexies, Dex.
- Amphetamines are a group of psychoactive drugs which act as a stimulant on the human body.
- The collective group includes amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine.
- Some amphetamines are legally prescribed by doctors for the treatment of various medical and psychological disorders, including ADHD and narcolepsy.
- Amphetamines provide various effects including alertness, increased confidence and energy, as well as a reduced appetite.
- Unwanted effects include increased irritability, anxiety, insomnia and aggression.
- The high is usually followed by a comedown which can last for several days and can cause irritability and low mood.
- Amphetamine is usually an off-white or pinkish powder. It is mostly sold by weight in small rectangular wraps of paper.
- The base form of speed is usually purer and looks like a grey paste, similar in consistency to putty.
- Methamphetamine comes in various forms including a white powder, clear crystals, or in tablet form.
Method of use
- Amphetamine in powder form can be snorted in lines or dabbed onto the gums. It may also be wrapped in paper and swallowed, (known as ‘bombing’), or injected.
- Methamphetamine is usually smoked, although some people choose to inject it.
- Base speed is usually swallowed or can be smoked.
- Amphetamine overdose is potentially fatal.
- You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with amphetamines or other substances that cause a high.
- Some users have reported sharp chest pains, palpitations and irregular heartbeat.
- Amphetamine use can cause anxiety, depression, aggression and paranoia.
- Heavy use may induce a psychotic state with symptoms similar to some forms of schizophrenia.
- The comedown sometimes lasts for days after and can often make people feel depressed and run down.
- Long-term use can lead to poor nutrition and sleep disturbances.
- Sharing injecting or snorting equipment risks infection with Hepatitis C and B viruses, as well as HIV.
- Snorting amphetamines can cause nasal damage.
- Injecting is particularly dangerous as it is much easier to overdose.
- If you choose to use amphetamines, then use in a safe environment and in the company of someone you trust. Ideally, this person will not have used the substance themselves and will be in a position to get help if things go wrong.
- Take small amounts first to test strength and effects; start low and go slow.
- The use of amphetamines with alcohol or other substances should be avoided.
- Amphetamines can be psychologically addictive and tolerance can quickly build up. Don’t use too frequently and take regular breaks.
- Avoid using if you have a history of depression, heart problems or circulatory problems.
- Avoid using other drugs to deal with the comedown. Stay healthy by eating regular meals, sleeping well and getting plenty of rest.
- Do not share injecting or snorting equipment. If you choose to inject then get safer injecting advice either from us, your local drug agency or nearest needle exchange.
- If snorting, alternate nostrils and clean your nostrils with warm water to minimise damage.
- Most amphetamines are controlled as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, unless prepared for injection when they become Class A.
- Possession of amphetamines could result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or an unlimited fine.
- Supplying amphetamines to someone else could result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years and/or an unlimited fine.
- In 2007, methamphetamine was reclassified as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
- Sentences are tougher for possession or supply of Class A drugs.
- Some amphetamines are controlled under the Medicines Act. This means that doctors can prescribe them for patients, but it is an offence to be in possession of amphetamines without a prescription.