Other names:

Amphetamines: Speed, Whizz, Amphetamine Sulphate, Sulph, Billy, Phet

Methamphetamines: Crystal Meth, Ice, Glass, Shard, Meth, Crank, Yaba, T, Tina

Base amphetamines: Base, Base Speed, Dexies, Dex

Amphetamines are a group of psychoactive drugs which act as a stimulant on the human body. The collective group includes amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine. Some amphetamines are legally prescribed by doctors for the treatment of various medical and psychological disorders, including ADHD and narcolepsy.

• Amphetamine is usually an off-white or pinkish powder. It is mostly sold by weight in small rectangular wraps of paper.

• The base form of speed is usually purer and looks like a grey paste, similar in consistency to putty.

• Methamphetamine comes in various forms including a white powder, clear crystals, or in tablet form.

Amphetamines provide various effects including alertness, increased confidence and energy, as well as a reduced appetite.

• Unwanted effects include increased irritability, anxiety, insomnia and aggression.

• Amphetamine in powder form can be snorted in lines or dabbed onto the gums. It may also be wrapped in paper and swallowed, (known as ‘bombing’), or injected.

• Methamphetamine is usually smoked, although some people choose to inject it.

• Base speed is usually swallowed or can be smoked.

• An Amphetamine overdose is potentially fatal.

• You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with amphetamines or other substances that cause a high.

• Chest pains, irregular heartbeat and other serious heart problems.

• Amphetamine use can cause anxiety, depression, aggression and paranoia.

• Heavy use may induce a psychotic state with symptoms similar to some forms of schizophrenia.

• The comedown sometimes lasts for days after and can often make people feel depressed and run down.

• Long-term use can lead to poor nutrition and sleep disturbances.

• Sharing injecting or snorting equipment risks infection with Hepatitis C and B viruses, as well as HIV.

• Snorting amphetamines can cause nasal damage.

• Injecting is particularly dangerous as it is much easier to overdose.

• If you choose to use amphetamines, then use in a safe environment and in the company of someone you trust. Ideally, this person will not have used the substance themselves and will be in a position to get help if things go wrong.

• Take small amounts first to test strength and effects; start low and go slow.

• The use of amphetamines with alcohol or other substances should be avoided.

• Amphetamines can be psychologically addictive and tolerance can quickly build up. Don’t use too frequently and take regular breaks.

• Avoid using if you have a history of depression, heart or breathing problems.

• Avoid using other drugs to deal with the comedown. Stay healthy by eating regular meals, sleeping well and getting plenty of rest.

• Do not share injecting or snorting equipment. If you choose to inject then get safer injecting advice either from us, your local drug agency or nearest needle exchange.

• If snorting, alternate nostrils and clean your nostrils with warm water to minimise damage.