Amphetamine (Speed)

Amphetamines are long lasting, central nervous system stimulants.

Other names

Speed, Whizz, Phet

Appearance

Off-white, yellow or pinkish powder or paste

Drugs Wheel Category

Stimulants

Legality

Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) – Class B.

If prepared for injection amphetamine becomes a Class A
Penalties for possession are up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Penalties for supply are up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

How it’s taken

Most commonly snorted. It can be swallowed in a cigarette paper or capsule (bombed), ‘dabbed’: licking a finger then dabbing it into the substance and licking it off and swallowing (this can cause a sore throat) diluted in juice, or injected. Injecting is almost always the riskiest way of taking drugs and is strongly discouraged.

Effects

Effects of speed, when snorted, can take up to 30 minutes to appear and can last for 4-8 hours. After-effects may be felt for up to 12 hours.

Speed may make you feel energetic and confident. It also increases your heart rate and breathing. People taking it may experience a strong urge to re-dose as well as increased alertness, concentration, motivation and sex drive and a decreased appetite and desire to sleep. Other effects include jaw clenching, restlessness, aggression and paranoia.

Risks

  • People taking amphetamines can feel a need to re-dose often which will lead to increased health damage and increased risk of dependence.
  • May increase over-confidence, aggression, sexual arousal, paranoia, decrease desire for sleep and reduce appetite.
  • Speed can affect your sleeping pattern which can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing.
  • Risk of strain on heart and liver
  • Risk of damage to the skin around and inside your nose from contact with powder
  • Mixing with alcohol, prescription medication or any other drugs risks unexpected, harmful and unpleasant effects

Harm reduction

All drug use has its risks, but if you choose to take speed then the following steps can help to reduce harm:
  • Remember that you cannot judge content or purity by appearance.
  • There is no standard amount of speed in powder. The amount of a drug contained in a pill or powder can vary, even within batches
  • You can’t judge an accurate dose just by looking – start low and go slow
  • Stimulant drugs can reduce your appetite – take time to eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated
  • Avoid mixing with alcohol, prescription medication or any other drugs, as the effects may be unexpected or harmful and unpleasant, especially with other psychedelics, cannabis or ketamine.
  • Drugs affect people differently and mixing different drugs can lead to unpredictable effects
  • Like all stimulant drugs, speed can affect your sleeping pattern which can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing.
  • Speed can cause jaw clenching so have chewing gum handy to keep your mouth moving, you can roll the chewing gum on your tongue to give your jaw a break from chewing. If you have been jaw clenching, rinse your mouth out with salty water. Maintain good dental health and brush your teeth after a session
  • Comedowns can be unpleasant, plan time to relax or spend time with friends
  • Stimulant use is linked to an increased risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) which should be not be left untreated
  • Look after your pals and seek medical help as soon as possible if anyone falls unwell. Be honest about what you know they have taken

For snorting

  • Grind or crush substances in to as fine a powder as possible before snorting.
  • Use a clean straw or paper as a ‘tooter/snorter’ rather than money and throw away after use.
  • Position the ‘tooter/snorter’ as high up the nostril as possible.
  • Avoid sharing your ‘tooter/snorter’ with anyone else (this could spread viruses).
  • Use a different nostril each time.
  • Rinse out your nose with clean water after each session.
  • Vitamin E oil can reduce damage to nose if applied in a thin layer inside after cleaning, like you would lip balm.

For injecting

  • Only use clean needles and supplies. Free, clean needles are available from injecting equipment programs (IEPs) alternatively they can be bought online.
  • Use the smallest needle you can without it becoming blocked.
  • Follow good hygiene practice and wash injection sites (before and after).
  • Always filter your drugs.
  • Do not use citric acid or heat to dissolve substances.
  • Use a fresh needle if you fail to find a vein first time; needles become blunt after one use.
  • Never share equipment (including needles, filters, containers, spoons and water).
  • Rotate injection sites.
  • Avoid injecting into the neck and groin.
  • Dispose of needles responsibly. These can be returned to an injecting equipment program (IEP).
  • Seek medical assistance if site becomes painful, tender or hot, or there is swelling for more than a few days.

Detection time

People taking speed have reported the following detection time, but this cannot be taken as a recommendation; detection of any drug will depend on purity, regularity of use, other medications or drugs you have taken, your body and how it’s taken.
  • 1 – 4 days in urine