is the name given a group of synthetic stimulants which are chemically
similar to adrenaline, the hormone used for 'fight or flight'
three main types. "Speed" most commonly refers to amphetamine
sulphate (also known by its trade name, Benzedrine).
is also dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine or "Dexy's Midnight
Runners"), and the most potent, methamphetamine (Methedrine
Of all street drugs, speed is most variable in appearance, mainly
because the pure product is so rare.
amphetamine comes in the form of crystal powder or paste and is
usually snorted or dabbed on the gums. It is usually a distinct
colour (brown, orange, reddish) thanks to impurities and 'backroom'
method of synthesis.
crystals are sometimes available but these are usually primarily
for cooking up and injecting.
And then there's
'base', an off white / brown / pink gritty paste, usually much
purer than powder (the texture makes it too difficult to mix it
with anything else).
manufactured speed pills do exist but are usually sold as (fake)
Ecstasy rather than as speed.
Also known as 'crystal meth' or 'glass', ice is a smokeable freebase
form of methamphetamine very common in America (it started in
Hawaii). Like crack-cocaine, it comes in larger crystals or rocks.
When smoked its effects are comparable to crack in intensity but
much longer lasting.
It is highly
Speed is notoriously impure. The average one gram wrap is 10%
amphetamine, 90% adulterant - anything from vitamin C powder,
glucose powder, caffeine, flour, baby milk. The usual stuff.
effect is like an adrenaline rush, only longer and with a noticeable
an amphetamine pill will come on within 15 to 30 minutes. Snorted,
the effects are much quicker (5 to 10 minutes). Injection is almost
instantaneous and can be overwhelming.
The sensations start as a tickling upwards from the stomach. There
is often a sense of rushing forwards. The mind feels clear and
focussed, more powerful, but in a more calculated way than the
arrogant me-me-me effect of cocaine.
the teeth start grinding. The jaws clench. Long term addicts can
actually crush their teeth to powder through incessant gnawing.
Appetite is also strongly suppressed and you go to the toilet
less. Blood pressure, heart rate all rise.
you start to feel confident and elated, along with an increased
desire to communicate. As the whole Central Nervous System (CNS)
becomes stimulated, increasing your alertness and endurance. Often
users talk fast and continually. And a lot of shit.
Speed is colder,
more physical, and in many ways more unforgiving than E.
Small doses of speed (one line, one pill) wear off within 3-8
hours later, leaving the you fatigued but not exhausted. Hence
the strong temptation to top up and continue speeding. This staves
off the comedown but increases its severity. Eventually you face
a "crash" rather than a manageable come down.
of the crash which keeps some people on weekend- even week-long
The danger of death by overdosing on amphetamines is extremely
low, with only 79 recorded OD deaths world-wide in the forty years
up to 1979, almost all injecting users.
as the pull of heroin is over dramatised, the pull of speed is
dramatically understated. The combination of the physical rush
and psychological boost is a strong draw for many users.
comes from over-regular use, and over familiarity, becoming more
dependent on the release of energy and more uncomfortable with
the body's natural energy levels.
nervous tension are common after even mild recreational use. Even
occasional, light users can suffer depression and lasting fatigue.
hit severe, sometimes suicidal lows, and can slump into deep sleeps
lasting well over 24 hrs.
Consistent heavy use or a single large dose can induce amphetamine
psychosis, almost identical in symptoms to schizophrenia.
hallucinations and paranoid delusions are the real frighteners
and, unlike hallucinogens, the "trip" cannot be turned
around. This is a very real mental state caused by over-excitement
of the brain's fright centres.
often start with curiosity, deep thought, and paranoia. Its slow
build up makes it all the more dangerous, as it is harder to recognise
get into obsessional activities, ironing or scrubbing floors though
the night, or dismantling and reassembling electrical equipment.
psychosis is much more common amongst heavy regular users there
are real dangers that any small amount of speed used by a person
with schizophrenic tendencies could push them over the edge.
The body quickly
builds tolerance to amphetamines with regular use, though this
fades quickly with breaks. Users have to rapidly increase doses
to maintain effects. In narcoleptics and hyperactive children,
however, there is no tolerance.
are highly addictive, working like alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine
on the dopamine "reward" pathways of the brain. Short
term recreational use can slip unnoticed into long term systematic
abuse. Some speed addicts have had habits lasting over twenty
If you are
addicted, withdrawal will give exactly the reverse effects of
the drug. Instead of the drug's euphoria and curbing the need
to eat and sleep, withdrawal causes excessive hunger and fatigue,
different from heroin withdrawal, but equally distressing.
with other drugs
The greatest danger from mixing other drugs with amphetamines
is additional strain on the heart and increased blood pressure.
there have been very few scientific studies into the effects of
combining psychoactive drugs. The information presented here is
anecdotal. It is based on the subjective reports of experienced
users. Different people will respond differently to different
drugs and drug combination. Know your body.
lager lout's fave. Allows extended binge drinking. Increase likelihood
of aggressive / irresponsible behaviour. Not good for liver and
kidneys. Terrible hangover
take the edge of the buzz
combination as the effects are so similar, danger of increased
toxicity and strain on heart
E experience, increased energy and euphoria, but also strain on
heart and risk of over-heating. Moderation recommended.
ghb no information
available - can you help?
common amongst heavy speed users as heroin provides physical grounding
to speed's more psychotic tendencies
and slow, leading to intense Matrix-like perception of time changes
- no increased health risks
LSD has its
own speedy effect
increased weirdness; energising; paranoia usually increased; comedown
can be rocky
smokers usually smoke more cigarettes, usual perils of tobacco
Amphetamines are class B prescription only drugs under the Medicines
Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
doctors can prescribe them to patients legally, but any other
unauthorised production, supply or possession is an offence.
In the US,
amphetamines are categorized under Schedule II along with cocaine.