Amphetamines are commonly known as being prescribed for children or adolescents suffering from ADD or ADHD. As prescription drugs, amphetamines can be obtained from someone who has a prescription or bought illegally from the street. Adderall is a drug widely used by students wanting to stay awake for long periods of time and study for their exams or finish projects.
Despite the fact that death by overdose from amphetamines occurs quite often, the drug is still tempting for people who want to feel the physical rush and psychological awareness the drug creates. The danger that comes with the use of amphetamines is that as dependency on the drug increases and tolerance occurs, users become more and more uncomfortable with the body’s reactions and energy levels when being ‘clean’. In order to get the same rush they got the first time they used, dependent users need to increase the dose of the substance.
Even after low recreational use, paranoia and nervous tension are visible after-effects. Speed has a similar effect to the euphoria created by cocaine, causing a sudden increase in the blood pressure of the user. Even though it is tempting to use amphetamines to stay longer awake and do the work that needs to be finished, after the effects wear off, the light user feels overwhelming tiredness and depression. It is tempting to continue using the substance in order to avoid the withdrawal effects, but the longer the drug is used, the worse the withdrawal will be.
Heavy amphetamine users can sleep up to 24 hours during withdrawal and even feel suicidal. Additionally, amphetamine addicts suffer from malnutrition, due to the loss of appetite created by the drugs. A poor diet combined with lack of sleep weakens the immune system, making the user susceptible to a large number of diseases, which can damage the overall health greatly.
Mixing amphetamines with other substances is a very bad idea. Alcohol combined with uppers will lead to very aggressive behaviours and a serious impairment of judgement and control of reaction. Consequently, driving after using those substances is not recommended. The user’s judgement of distance and coordination is highly inaccurate. Like most of the drugs, amphetamines create a distorted image of reality, making it hard to take the right decisions and avoid very dangerous situations.
Injecting amphetamines is usually preferred by users who want to feel the effect of the drug immediately. This high risk method of using drugs can cause HIV or hepatitis B and C if the needles and syringes used are not properly sanitised. Moreover, speed injection can cause organ damage and blockage in the blood vessels if it is combined with other substances.
There always is uncertainty regarding the amphetamine’s purity when bought illegally. Consequently, the risk of overdose is always present and high. If too much substance is consumed, this can trigger a heart attack that can be fatal. The consistent use of large doses of amphetamine can cause amphetamine psychosis, which has the same symptoms like schizophrenia. Heavy users experience realistic hallucinations and suffer from delusions, often engaging obsessively in activities such as cleaning or assembling and dismantling things. This state is caused by the over-excitement of the brain, often starting simply as a curiosity, but developing into heavy thought, suspicion and paranoia.