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Amphetamine

bill, dexies, speed, uppers, whizz amphetamine sulphate dexamphetamine
sold under: benzedrine, dexedrine and methdrine

 

history

Amphetamines were first used to increase the performance of the armed forces during the second world war. During the 1950s and 1960s amphetamines were prescribed to treat depression.

 

appearance

A white crystalline powder typically 5% pure or less. The other 95% could be glucose, talc, Paracetamol, strychnine etc.

Base amphetamine or 'Paste' is a sticky crystalline paste that smells of ammonia. It comes from earlier in the production process and should be treated with some caution. The purity is usually higher but unpredictable.

 

method of use

Snorted, swallowed or injected.

 

effects

Amphetamine mimics adrenaline by activating and arousing the central nervous system. The user will feel alert, energetic and confident.

The heart rate and blood pressure rise as the mouth becomes dry and hands become sweaty. Most people lose their appetite and will not feel tired until the effects wear off.

The day after, there is a sense of being washed out but there might also be a tendency towards mood swings, anger and confusion. These effects will pass but regular and prolonged use is likely to complicate the side-effects to include paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks.

If used frequently or long-term, lack of sleep and not eating properly can deepen the depression that follows.

Heavy use of speed may induce 'amphetamine psychosis' with symptoms similar to some forms of schizophrenia. For example, paranoid delusions, hearing voices etc. Amphetamines can induce latent mental health problems because you are not giving your body a chance to recover.

 

health risks

Because amphetamines exhaust the user's reserves of strength, the body's resistance to disease is lowered. Malnutrition, as a result of prolonged use of amphetamines, may starve the body of calcium causing brittle bones, rheumatism or arthritis in old age. Heavy, extended use may cause high blood pressure, irregular heart beats, strokes and affect women's menstruation and fertility.

Speed should be avoided by people with high blood pressure, heart or respiratory problems, present or past psychological problems, hypertension, glaucoma or pregnancy.

It is much safer to swallow (known as 'dabbing' or 'bombing') the drug since the stomach is designed to get rid of irritants which the nose or veins are not.

Symptoms of an overdose include a racing pulse, cramps, fever, perhaps convulsions or even coma.

What to do in the event of an overdose

Injecting amphetamines leads to a considerable risk of injecting the impurities the drug is mixed with — possibly causing collapsed veins, abscesses, thrombosis or gangrene leading to amputation. Because of the risk of HIV infection, if amphetamines are being injected, works must NEVER be shared with anyone. There is a needle exchange at BDP where new works are given free, and any chemist will sell clean works cheaply.

Safer Injecting

 

dependency

Research suggests that there is no physical addiction to amphetamine but psychologically a user can feel unable to do anything without it. A tolerance quickly develops with regular use and the amount needed soon increases.

 

the law

Amphetamine is a class B drug unless prepared for injection when it becomes a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Published in Alcohol & Drugs