Amphetamines

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Amphetamine encompasses various drugs, but you will find methamphetamine is more commonly researched, talked about, and prevalent. Amphetamine is the parent drug of a family of psychostimulants, which speed up the messages going to and from the brain. Some street names for amphetamines include “uppers,” “bennies,” “black beauties,” and “diet pills.” Amphetamines usually come in powder, pills or tablets. Prescription diet pills also fall into this category of drugs. Amphetamines can be snorted, swallowed, injected, dissolved in a drink, or smoked. A common form of the drug is amphetamine sulphate, more often known as speed.

Another member of this family is methamphetamine, a more potent and more abused version of the drug. Common street names for methamphetamine are “meth,” “speed,” “crank,” and “go.” A form of methamphetamine is crystalline methamphetamine (“ice” or “crystal meth”). Because “crystal meth” is inexpensive to make and highly addictive, it has become a seriously dangerous drug in our society.

The effects of using amphetamines. The effects of any drug, including amphetamines and methamphetamine, vary from person to person, depending on the individual’s size, weight and health, how much is taken and how the drug is taken, whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken at the same time. Effects can also depend on the social context where the drug is used, such as whether the person is alone, with others, or at a party.

Some immediate effects include: Being more awake, alert, and talkative, having more energy, feeling euphoric and confident, being aggressive, appetite loss, increased heart rate and breathing as well as nausea or vomiting.

Taking the drug regularly may also cause: Extreme weight loss, dizziness, severe dental problems, paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, confusion (feeling ‘scattered’).

Mixing other drugs with amphetamines. Mixing drugs can to serious physical and psychological problems. The mixture of amphetamine and alcohol can lead to increased aggression and violence. Sometimes people will take other drugs, like sleeping tablets such as Valium or Serepax, as a way of coping with some of the unwanted effects of amphetamine, but again, this can be dangerous to your safety and health.

Learn more about amphetamines, their effects and how you can get help.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.  

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