Amphetamines are known by the street names 'speed', 'uppers', ‘sulph’, ‘sulphate’, or ‘wizz’.
Amphetamines are a group of drugs which act as stimulants, speeding up the central nervous system. Methamphetamine is a related chemical and has a similar function. Amphetamine was first synthesized in the nineteenth century, and first marketed in the 1930s as Benzedrine. Because the drugs increase energy levels and suppress appetite, they were widely used by states during World War 2 to give a ‘boost’ to service personnel, and in the 1950s and 60's as slimming aids. They are now prescribed to those suffering narcolepsy and, especially in the US, to children diagnosed with ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’.
The street drug is usually a powder, amphetamine sulphate—often white but can be green, pink, or brown; it is known as ‘sulph’ ‘sulphate’ ‘speed’ or ‘wizz’.
Amphetamines produce high energy, increase wakefulness, and suppress the need for sleep and food. High dose and prolonged use can produce side-effects such as ‘amphetamine psychosis’, as well as exhaustion and depression. While not physically addictive (some physical dependence has been noted ) users can develop psychological dependence and become run down and weak through long term use. Usually respite care would be appropriate to come off the drug: a safe place and plenty of rest, sleep and attention to nutrition.
Amphetamines are Class B, schedule 2 drugs. It is illegal to possess them without a prescription or to supply or produce them without a licence.
Possession of Class B drugs carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine. Trafficking offences carry maximum sentences of 14 years’ imprisonment and a fine.
If amphetamines are prepared for injection they become Class A substances. Possession of a Class A drug carries a maximum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment and/a fine. Trafficking offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine.
Free, confidential information and advice is available by calling the Release Drugs Helpline on 0845 45 00 215