Parents Understanding Drugs


What is it?

Amphetamines are very addictive stimulants that accelerate functions in the brain and body. They come in pills or tablets. Prescription diet pills also fall into this category of drugs.

x Speed is an off-white or pinkish powder and can sometimes look like small crystals. However, there are other types of speed:

  • The 'base' form of speed is usually purer and is a pinkish-grey colour and feels like putty
  • Crystal meth (methylamphetamine or methamphetamine) is a very strong, addictive and dangerous form of speed that comes in crystals
  • 4-methylamphetamine has been reported as looking like damp paste or putty
  • Amphetamines that are used as medicines, such as dexamphetamine, are usually small white pills. Doctors use them to treat conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Amphetamines can be sold as tablets in a range of shapes and colours.

it ia also Known as whizz, sulph, base, speed, uppers, dexies, bennies, hearts, and truck drivers.

It is categorised as a stimulant.

How it's taken

x Amphetamines are swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected.

Speed is either dabbed onto the gums, or is snorted in lines (like cocaine powder). Sometimes it's rolled up in a cigarette paper and swallowed, this is called a 'speedbomb'. It can also be injected or mixed into drinks.


The effects of speed kick in within half an hour of swallowing. If you snort or inject speed it will kick in quicker - the effects can last for up to six hours.

For 3 to 4 hours users feel animated, over-confident, and full of energy. Appetite and ability to sleep are adversely affected. Speed use can lead to agitation, panics or even a psychotic episode.

x No matter how a person takes amphetamines, these drugs hit with a fast high, making the user feel powerful, alert, and energized.

These "uppers" pump up heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and can also cause sweating, shaking, headaches, sleeplessness, and blurred vision.

Prolonged use may cause hallucinations and intense paranoia.

Even after users stop taking amphetamines, they may still have problems such as aggression, anxiety, and strong cravings for the drugs.


x Short term: Some users may feel tense and anxious while using and afterwards many feel very tired and depressed. Depending on how much you've taken, it can be difficult to relax or sleep. The 'comedown', which can last a number of days, can make users feel really lethargic and down, and you can develop difficulty concentrating and with learning. The drug can cause sudden death from heart attack or stroke.

Long term: Frequent high doses can cause panic, hallucination and weight loss. Heavy long-term use places strain on the heart and can cause mental illness. Amphetamines are addictive. Mixing speed with anti-depressants or alcohol has been known to kill. Injecting 'speed', and sharing injecting equipment, runs the risk of the injector catching or spreading a virus such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or a blood clot will develop.

Legal Status

Amphetamines are a Class B drug meaning it's illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession of amphetamines can get you up to five years in jail or an unlimited fine or both. Supplying amphetamines to someone else, including friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

When amphetamines are prepared for injection they become a Class A and can get you tougher sentencing if you're caught possessing or selling. Possession of a Class A can get you up to seven years in jail or an unlimited fine or both. Supplying a Class A to someone else, including your friends, could lead to life imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.


Drugs in the News

Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for 'rethink' of war on drugs


The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to "rethink" the war on drugs.

He said the zero-tolerance policy might be "even more harmful" than all the other wars being fought worldwide.Drugs workers fear a "bad batch of heroin" could have led to the deaths of at least seven drug users in recent weeks in the Gwent Police force area.

BBC News, 8 December 2016

Heroin deaths prompt 'fix room'


Drugs workers fear a "bad batch of heroin" could have led to the deaths of at least seven drug users in recent weeks in the Gwent Police force area.

BBC News, 26 November 2016

The babies starting life in rehab


According to NHS figures, 1,087 babies in England were affected by maternal use of drugs in 2014-15, while in Scotland 987 babies were affected.

BBC News, 25 November 2016

GHB: The killer drug


The Metropolitan Police has said it will examine 58 GHB-related deaths, following the conviction of serial killer Stephen Port.

BBC News, 25 November 2016

Club drug testing 'may be useful'


A leading police chief says recreational drug testing "may be very useful". Commander Bray is in discussion with the government about it.

Newsbeat, 24 November 2016

MPs call for cannabis legalisation


Britain should follow America's lead and legalise cannabis, and rake in £1 billion a year in tax revenues

Metro, 21 November 2016

Pharma's fight to block marijuana


Marijuana legalization will unleash misery on Arizona, according to a wave of television ads that started rolling out across the state last month.

Guardian, 22 October 2016

10 years for cannabis for cancer


Police in Denmark have arrested a man and woman on suspicion of providing cannabis to cancer patients and people with other serious illnesses.

Independent, 5 October 2016

UK National Drugs helpline: 0300 123 6600

The National Drugs Helpline is a 24-hour, 7-days a week, free and confidential telephone service that offers advice and information for anyone.

It is run by the government agency, known as FRANK, created to provide drug support and advice for the public.

If you need emergency help, are worried about a friend or relative's drug use or want support coping with your own, contact FRANK on-line contact or by phone.

Toxic batch of amphetamines behind violence, police claim


Lancashire police issue warning after having to sedate some speed users and finding others climbing trees and buildings. Two men had to be sedated after taking the substance.

A toxic batch of amphetamines is causing users to behave violently, with a number of men being taken to hospital as a result. There had been four recent incidents in which officers in Blackburn took aggressive men to hospital after they consumed what is thought to be contaminated amphetamines, commonly known as speed.

Captagon: the amphetamine fuelling Syria's civil war


As Syria sinks ever deeper into civil war, evidence is starting to emerge that a brutal and bloody conflict that has left more than 100,000 people dead and displaced as many as two million is now also being fuelled by both the export and consumption of rapidly increasing quantities of illegal drugs.

Separate investigations have found that the growing trade in Syrian-made Captagon - an amphetamine widely consumed in the Middle East but almost unknown elsewhere - generated revenues of millions of dollars inside the country last year, some of which was almost certainly used to fund weapons.

One in three gym users take drugs or supplements to lose weight


More than 30% of gym-goers in the UK use some form of drug or dietary supplement to lose weight, a study has found, amid fears body image anxiety fuels a rise in the use of performance and image-enhancing drugs.

More than 5% of people who regularly attend gyms have gone further by using the illegal stimulant amphetamine for this purpose, according to researchers from the University of Hertfordshire, who have presented their preliminary findings to MPs.

Amphetamine stimulant 'had role' in runner's fatal heart attack


The death of Claire Squires, a fit and healthy 30-year-old, 1 mile from the end of the London marathon last year, caught the country's imagination.

On Wednesday a coroner ruled that the most likely cause off her death was a single dose of Jack3d, a performance-enhancing supplement that at the time was legal to buy, possess and use.

That supplement, with its amphetamine-type effects, was to be banned four months later by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Stan's Story - amphetamines addiction


Most of my life I've been in some sort of addiction. From the age of twelve I used to steal money from my mother for slot-machines, but I never knew I had a problem. I left school and got involved in crime, started sniffing glue; went from sniffing glue to amphetamines. I stopped doing amphetamines for a while, settled down with a girlfriend, had my first child with her at the age of twenty-one. My girlfriend became pregnant again a year-and-a-half later, by then I'd started doing amphetamines again; slowly my relationship was breaking down, it came to an end and I just started hitting the clubs and drinking.

History of Amphetamine & Methamphetamine


1887: Amphetamine first synthesized by German chemist L. Edeleano
1919: Methamphetamine is first synthesized by Japanese scientist A. Ogata.
Late 1920s: Amphetamine investigated as a cure or treatment against a variety of illnesses.
1932: Marketed as Benzedrine for nasal congestion, hay fever, and colds.
1935: Physicians used amphetamine tablets to treat narcolepsy.
1937: Amphetamine approved by American Medical Association for sale.
1940: Methamphetamine marketed under the trade name 'Methedrine'.

High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history


The book in question is The Total Rush - or, to use its superior English title, Blitzed - which reveals the astonishing and hitherto largely untold story of the Third Reich's relationship with drugs, including cocaine, heroin, morphine and, above all, methamphetamines (aka crystal meth), and of their effect not only on Hitler's final days - the Fuhrer, by Ohler's account, was an absolute junkie with ruined veins by the time he retreated to the last of his bunkers - but on the Wehrmacht's successful invasion of France in 1940. Published in Germany last year, it has since been translated into 18 languages

The United States of Adderall


Huffington, 18 January 2016

Fast Times: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of Amphetamine


Amphetamine didn't cure anything, but it did make you feel better. Chemist Gordon Alles faced this paradox after patenting his discovery in 1932.

Gordon Alles thought he was testing a new asthma medicine. He was trying to improve on ephedrine, that had become a blockbuster asthma treatment for Eli Lilly. Focusing on beta-phenyl-isopropylamine, he didn't know the drug had been first synthesized in 1887 by Romanian Lazar Edeleanu. For 40 years chemists considered it valueless, but Alles was to prove them wrong, discovering what became the first psychoactive prescription drug.

Adderall: America's Favourite Amphetamine


Sheri is a junior in college. In the mornings, she has class, and in the afternoons, she has work. Sheri has ADD, and without her medication, has a hard time getting out of bed. Her medication is Adderall, but Sheri doesn't have health insurance and can't afford the $300 a month for the prescription. But Sheri is lucky, because she knows Dan, who sells Adderall to college students for $5 to $15 a pop, depending on how many pills they're buying. And Dan does good business, as Adderall is America's favourite amphetamine, especially among college students trying to maintain long hours of focus.

Ice increasing cause of addiction among Sydney drug users


Amphetamine addiction has become the leading problem for Sydney residents seeking treatment for drug and alcohol dependence, figures suggest.

Australia's largest rehabilitation service, Odyssey House, revealed on Monday in its annual report that 49% of its clients in the city cited amphetamine-type stimulants, such as ice, as their main reason for seeking treatment.

Guardian, 19 December 2016

Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions


New York Times, 2 February 2013

Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs


New York Times, 18 April 2015

Mount Everest, amphetamines, and the ethics of experiment


Guardian, 15 May 2013

Isis fighters use Captagon amphetamine pills to stay awake, Turkey just seized 11 million of them


Independent, 22 November 2015

Amphetamine gets the job done


Science Nordic, 12 January 2015

Amphetamines affect men more than women


Guardian, 8 April 2006

Saudi prince held after seizure of two tonnes of amphetamines at airport


Guardian, 26 October 2015

Amphetamines: Not Just for Kids Anymore


Huffington, 30 June 2016

Parents Understanding Drugs