Other names :Speed, Billy Whizz, Pink champagne.
What are they?
Amphetamines are powerful central nervous stimulants. Most street speed contains amphetamine sulphate. Other amphetamines include dexamphetamine and methamphetamine, both less common and more powerful stimulants.
Speed is usually sold as a white powder.
What does it do?
Most people experience increased confidence, talkativeness and sociability, euphoria, increased energy, loss of appetite and insomnia. these effects last for four to six hours. As the drug wears off and the person comes down from the effects, these feelings are replaced by a low matching the high given by the drug.
Common after effects are low energy, hunger and tiredness. If someone uses amphetamine regularly or takes a high dose they are likely to feel anxious, irritable and sometimes paranoid. Large doses of amphetamine are known to cause amphetamine psychosis. This is clinically very similar to other psychoses – like paranoid schizophrenia. People suffering from amphetamine psychosis often feel that there’s a conspiracy, people are out to get them, they’ve done something wrong and that everyone else knows all about it. This can be extremely frightening, but will usually wear off as the speed wears off.
What does it do to my body?
Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system. Common reactions include dilated pupils, dry mouth, loss of appetite, an increase in body temperature and insomnia. Higher doses can cause stomach upset, sweating, jaw tension, a disturbed heart rhythm, flushing and cold hands and feet. Less common are increased blood pressure, palpitations and tremors.
What are the risks?
Regular use of amphetamines will interrupt sleep patterns and eating habits, and can lead to extreme paranoid delusions. Someone who feels upset or anxious who uses speed will find that their feelings are intensified as they come down from the effects of the drug. Someone who is speeding and drinking alcohol will not feel the full effects of the alcohol until the speed starts to wear off. They will still get drunk, but they’ll be wide awake and drunk. They’ll still find it more difficult to make rational decisions than normal.
Illegal amphetamines are cut or adulterated with other substances. Some speed has been confiscated by the police with a purity as low as 2%. Most speed will be 5% to 10% pure. Someone paying £10 for a wrap of speed is spending 50 pence on speed and £9.50 on everything else that’s in it. Amphetamines increase metabolic rate, and will use up stores of nutrients in the body.
Someone using speed will recover more quickly afterwards if they replace essential nutrients like Vitamin C and Calcium, and rest properly. Using speed causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. At high doses it is possible for your heart to go into arrhythmia – it starts jumping about all over the place. Body temperature can soar, causing overheating. Taking speed with other stimulants like E increases these risks.
Amphetamine use can affect sexual behavior. Libido (how horny you feel) may increase or decrease. Male orgasm and ejaculation are inhibited. Sex can last for a long time. Make sure that you have plenty of condoms, just in case. Most people who suffer from amphetamine psychosis find that it wears off as the drug does. As they come down, they can distinguish between their delusions and what’s really happening. Regular use can cause long-term or even permanent psychological problems. Amphetamines don’t cause physical dependence but there is a risk of psychological dependence. Chopping out a line on Monday to ‘sort your head out’ after a heavy weekend will only make Tuesday even more difficult to cope with.