Drug & Alcohol Recovery and Education Centre

"Turning Lives Around"

Drug Information

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a group of drugs commonly known as Speed, Whizz, Ice, Uppers

Includes:

  • Amphetamine Sulphate
  • Dexamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine - chrystal, meth, or rock.

Description:

  • Stimulant drugs that speed up certain chemicals in the brain.
  • Dexamphetamine is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

How Amphetamines are Used:

Amphetamines can be swallowed, injected, smoked or inhaled (snorted). The effects of amphetamines can last from four to eight hours.
Sometimes a person may experience a hangover effect that can last up to three days.

Health Effects of Using Amphetamines:

The effects of amphetamines will vary from person to person depending on characteristics of the:

  • Individual (user) – Mood, physical size, health, gender, previous experience with amphetamines, expectations of the drug, personality, whether the person has had food and whether other drugs have been taken.
  • Drug – The amount used, its purity, and whether it is smoked, swallowed, snorted or injected.
  • Setting (environment) – Whether the person is using with friends, on his/her own,
    in a social setting or at home, at work or before driving.

Short-term effects

  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased blood pressure, breathing and pulse-rates
  • Anxiety, irritability, suspiciousness, panic attacks and a threatening manner
  • Increased energy, alertness, confidence and talkativeness
  • Reduced appetite, inability to sleep and enlarged pupils.

Long-term effects

  • Malnutrition
  • Reduced resistance
  • Infection
  • Violent behaviour
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Periods of psychosis
  • Tolerance

As methamphetamine is more potent than dexamphetamine, users are likely to experience more severe side-effects.

The effects of methamphetamine include anxiety, depression, paranoia, aggression and psychotic symptoms. Methamphetamine also increases the risk of mental health problems, so people with an existing mental health condition should be even more cautious about using this drug.

There are also dangerous effects associated with the method of use. Snorting can damage the fragile mucous membrane in the nasal passages. It produces burns and sores on the membranes that line the interior of the nose. Injecting amphetamines can result in blocked blood vessels that can cause major damage to the body’s organs, such as inflamed blood vessels and abscesses, blood poisoning, bacterial infections which may damage the heart valves, vein collapse, infection at injection site, bruising or more serious injuries if users inject into an artery or tissue.

Overdose

Overdose can cause:

  • Strokes
  • Heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Death

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Watershed holds accreditation with the Australian Council on Health Care Standards (ACHS).

Formerly: Wollongong Crisis Centre


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