Amphetamines

Whizz, Sulph, Paste, Billy, Base.
questionmarkWhat is speed?

Speed is the street name for the Class B drug amphetamine sulphate. Sometimes speed is used to refer to other types of amphetamines. Speed is a stimulant and people take ‘speed’ to keep them awake, energised and alert.

Other key effects and risks of taking speed are:
  • Feeling ‘up’, excited and chatty.
  • People take it because it gives them the energy to do things for hours without getting tired, things like dancing, talking, and going out.
  • It can make people overactive, agitated or even acutely psychotic (this is a mental state when you see or hear things which aren't there and have delusions).
  • The high is generally followed by a long slow comedown, making you feel really irritable and depressed.
  • Speed puts a strain on your heart and can cause heart problems – some people have died from taking too much speed.
What are the effects of speed?
  • Speed makes users feel very up, alert and energised, but can also make them agitated and aggressive.
  • Clubbers take it because it gives them the energy to dance for hours without getting tired.
  • Amphetamines were once the main ingredient in diet pills because they stop people feeling hungry.
  • Speed use can lead to agitation, panics or even a psychotic episode (this is a mental state when you see or hear things which aren't there and have delusions).
What are the risks?

Taking speed does involve risks. Here’s what it could do to you:

  • exclamationmarkDepending on how much you’ve taken, it can be difficult to relax or sleep.
  • The ‘comedown’, which can last a number of days, can make users feel really lethargic and down, and you can develop difficulty concentrating and with learning.
  • Speed puts a strain on your heart, so it's definitely not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition – users have died from taking too much.
  • Mixing speed with anti-depressants or alcohol has been known to kill.
  • Taking a lot of speed, alongside its effects on diet and sleep, can give your immune system a battering – so you could get more colds, flu and sore throats,
  • Speed can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression and paranoia; as well as mental illness, even to acute psychotic episodes (this is a mental state when you see or hear things which aren't there and have delusions).
  • Injecting speed is particularly dangerous. It's much easier to overdose when injecting. Speed is usually very impure, so it’s not just the amphetamine that goes in to your bloodstream.
  • Injecting can also cause damage to veins and arteries, and may cause ulcers and even gangrene (that’s when bits of the body start to die).
  • Viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS infections can be spread by users sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment.
lawiconThe Law
  • Speed is a Class B drug and it’s illegal to have, give away or sell. Speed that has been prepared for injection becomes a Class A drug and can get you tougher sentencing if you're caught with it or selling it.
  • Possession can get you up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you up to 14 years and an unlimited fine.
What if you’re caught?

If the police catch you with speed, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution,  arrest and prosecution. A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

lightbulbDid you know?

Like drinking and driving, driving while under the influence  of drugs is illegal – with some drugs you can still be unfit to drive the day after using. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
Allowing other people to supply drugs in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a club they can potentially  prosecute the landlord, club owner or any person concerned in the management of the premises.

Drugs & Alcohol


Legal Highs

Legal Highs’ are substances which produce the same, or similar effects, to drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

They are considered illegal to sell, supply or advertise for “human consumption” under current medicines legislation. To get round this sellers will refer to them as research chemicals, plant food, bath crystals or pond cleaner.

There are a large number of legal highs, but here are a few key facts:

  • Just because a drug is legal to possess, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that ‘legal highs’ are far from harmless and can have similar health risks to drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and speed.
  • Risks of ‘legal highs’ can include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures, and death.
  • These risks are increased if used with alcohol or other drugs.
  • It is likely that drugs sold as a ‘legal high’ may actually contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess. What you may think is a legal high that you can’t get in trouble for having, could be something completely different, and in fact a class B drug.

Worried About Someone?

Not all drugs are addictive, and everybody that uses drugs doesn’t become dependent. When drug use becomes problematic it can lead to addiction and signs this has happen can include:

  • The need for regular use.
  • Constantly have drugs in their possession.
  • Strange and ‘out of character’ behavior
  • Mood Swings
  • Physical changes like Weight loss
  • Sometimes people don’t recognise their drug use has become a problem. They refuse to believe that they are addicted or dependent. If you think you think a friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you're going to approach it and what you’re going to say?

    It could be a sensitive subject for them and you don’t what to looking like you’re getting. They may not listen to you at first but don’t let this put you off. The best thing that you can do is to be there for them, to support and encourage them to change. You can also help by keeping your friend away from situations that can trigger or expose them to drug use.

    Some people are able to overcome their issues with drugs before any serious harm has been done to them, or their family and friends. Other users have to hit rock bottom before they can see the harm and damage they are doing and start addressing their drug use.