Understanding Speed Drugs

Speed drugs, also known as amphetamines, are stimulant drugs that act on the central nervous system to increase brain activity and alertness. They belong to a class of drugs that speed up the workings of the brain, resulting in various immediate effects.

Definition and Types

Amphetamines, commonly referred to as speed, uppers, whiz, or rack, are synthetic drugs that share similarities with the naturally occurring amphetamine compound. One of the most potent forms of amphetamines is crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice [1].

In recent years, synthetic products claiming to have similar effects to amphetamines have emerged in Australia. These products, containing chemicals like methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), pose additional risks due to their unpredictable effects and potential harm compared to traditional amphetamines.

Immediate Effects

The effects of amphetamines can be felt almost immediately when injected or smoked, or within 30 minutes when snorted or swallowed. These immediate effects can vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Euphoria or intense feelings of pleasure
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Increased talkativeness and sociability
  • Heightened sexual arousal

It's important to note that amphetamine use can impair judgment and contribute to accidents and injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes. The effects of amphetamines can vary depending on the dosage, method of administration, and individual factors.

Understanding the immediate effects of amphetamines is crucial in recognizing their potential risks and consequences. It is essential to prioritize health and safety when it comes to substance use and seek appropriate support and treatment if needed.

Risks and Consequences

The use of speed drugs can have severe risks and consequences, affecting both physical and mental health. It's important to understand these potential dangers to make informed decisions about drug use.

Addiction and Tolerance

Amphetamines, including speed drugs, have the potential to lead to addiction. Addiction occurs when the body and mind become dependent on the drug, resulting in a lack of control over its use and the need to use it regularly [2]. Over time, individuals may develop tolerance, requiring larger doses to achieve the desired effects. This can increase the risk of dependence and further complicate the addiction.

Harmful Effects on Health

The use of speed drugs can have detrimental effects on overall health. Methamphetamine, for example, even in small doses, can cause cardiovascular problems such as rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. It can also lead to hyperthermia and convulsions in the case of overdose, potentially resulting in death.

Amphetamines, including speed drugs, also carry various other health risks. Prolonged use or misuse can increase the risk of acquiring HIV and hepatitis B and C. When taken during pregnancy, amphetamines can cause birth defects, and they are not safe for breastfeeding. It's essential to recognize that street drugs, including speed, are not safe for consumption [2].

Withdrawal Symptoms

Attempting to stop the use of speed drugs can result in withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur due to the body adjusting to the absence of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can vary among individuals but may include fatigue, depression, disturbed sleep, and increased appetite. It is crucial to seek professional help when trying to stop using speed drugs, as withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to manage without support.

Understanding the risks and consequences associated with speed drug use is essential for making informed decisions about personal health and well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with speed addiction, seeking professional help and support is crucial for a safe and healthy recovery.

Treatment and Support

When it comes to addressing addiction to speed drugs, seeking treatment and support is crucial for individuals who want to overcome their dependence. Recognizing addiction, seeking help, and participating in treatment programs are essential steps in the path towards recovery.

Recognizing Addiction

Recognizing addiction to speed drugs is the first step towards seeking help. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of addiction, which may include:

  • Compulsive drug use despite negative consequences
  • Cravings and a strong desire to use the drug
  • Increased tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Neglecting responsibilities and activities due to drug use
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut down on drug use

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is crucial to acknowledge the presence of addiction and take the necessary steps towards recovery.

Seeking Help

Seeking professional help is essential for effective treatment of speed drug addiction. Healthcare providers, addiction specialists, and mental health professionals can provide guidance, support, and evidence-based interventions tailored to the individual's needs. These professionals can help individuals understand the underlying causes of their addiction, develop coping strategies, and learn healthier ways to manage stress and emotions.

In addition to professional help, the support of family and friends is invaluable. Loved ones can provide emotional support, participate in counseling sessions, and help create a supportive and drug-free environment.

Treatment Programs

Treatment programs for speed drug addiction often involve a combination of counseling, therapy, and support groups. These programs aim to address the underlying factors contributing to addiction, develop coping mechanisms, and provide individuals with the necessary tools to maintain sobriety.

Counseling sessions may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals understand and change patterns of thinking and behavior associated with drug use. Group therapy allows individuals to connect with others who are facing similar challenges and provides a supportive community for recovery. Family therapy may also be beneficial to address any family dynamics that may contribute to addiction and to strengthen the support system.

In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and address co-occurring mental health conditions. These medications should be prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals [2].

By recognizing addiction, seeking professional help, and participating in treatment programs, individuals can take meaningful steps towards overcoming their speed drug addiction and reclaiming their lives. The journey to recovery may be challenging, but with the right support and dedication, it is possible to achieve a drug-free life.

Comparing Amphetamines and Speed

When discussing the topic of speed drugs, it's important to understand the relationship between amphetamines and speed. Amphetamines are a class of stimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain. They can be used for medical purposes when prescribed by a doctor, but they can also be used illicitly as recreational drugs. One common form of amphetamine is crystal methamphetamine, also known as "ice".

Medical Use vs. Illicit Use

Amphetamines have legitimate medical uses and can be prescribed by doctors for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. When used under medical supervision, amphetamines can help improve focus, attention, and alertness in individuals with ADHD.

On the other hand, the illicit use of amphetamines, often referred to as "speed," is associated with recreational drug use. Speed is typically produced in illegal laboratories and sold in various forms, including powder, tablets, or crystals. In Australia, one of the most common forms of illicit amphetamine is methamphetamine, with "ice" being the most potent form.

Forms and Administration

Amphetamines, both in their medical and illicit forms, can be found in different forms and can be administered in various ways. In Australia, methamphetamine, the most common amphetamine, is available in three forms: powder, crystals, and tablets. It can be consumed by injecting, snorting, smoking, or swallowing.

The table below provides an overview of the different forms and administration methods of amphetamines:

Form and Administration

Powder: Snorted, swallowed
Crystals (Ice): Smoked, injected
Tablets: Swallowed

Figures provided by Better Health Victoria

It's important to note that the use of amphetamines, whether for medical or illicit purposes, can have serious health risks and consequences. Misuse of these substances can lead to addiction, harmful effects on physical and mental health, and withdrawal symptoms. Understanding the differences between medical and illicit use and the various forms and administration methods can help individuals make informed decisions and seek appropriate support when needed.

Mental Health Impact

The use of speed drugs can have significant impacts on mental health. Two key areas of concern are the development of psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms, as well as the long-term mental health effects associated with speed drug use.

Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Chronic abuse of amphetamines, including speed drugs, can lead to a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and even violent behavior. These symptoms may persist as long as the drug is being abused, and can subside when the person stops taking speed drugs. High doses and frequent use of speed can result in amphetamine-induced psychosis or stimulant psychosis, which exhibits symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. These symptoms typically disappear when the person discontinues speed drug use.

Long-term Mental Health Effects

Long-term use of speed drugs can lead to various mental health issues, particularly associated with the comedown after taking the drug or prolonged use. Some of the mental health issues that may arise include depression, anxiety, paranoia, and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts. These effects are often linked to the chemical impact of the drug on the brain and the subsequent depletion of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and emotional well-being. Other mental health issues associated with speed use include anxiety, panic, paranoia, and hallucinations, which can be attributed to the drug's impact on the central nervous system.

It is essential to recognize the potential mental health consequences of speed drug use and seek appropriate support and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with the mental health effects of speed drugs, it is important to reach out to healthcare professionals who can provide guidance and assistance in addressing these challenges.

Physical Effects and Overdose

When discussing the use of speed drugs, it is important to understand the physical effects and the potential risks associated with an overdose. Speed drugs, such as amphetamines, can have immediate physical effects on the body. Overdose of these substances can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Immediate Physical Effects

The use of amphetamines, even in small doses, can result in various immediate physical effects. These effects may include increased wakefulness, heightened physical activity, and decreased appetite.

Amphetamines can also cause cardiovascular problems, such as a rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Additional physical effects may include hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and convulsions. These immediate physical effects can vary depending on the dosage and individual factors.

Overdose Symptoms

An overdose of amphetamines can have severe consequences and may require immediate medical intervention. Symptoms of an amphetamine overdose can include agitation, increased body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and, in extreme cases, death. Overdose symptoms can vary depending on the specific drug and the amount consumed.

In the case of speed drugs, an overdose can lead to high body temperature, agitation, seizures, stroke, or heart failure, all of which can be fatal. It is important to recognize the signs of an overdose and seek immediate medical help if suspected.

Managing Overtraining

Speed drugs, particularly amphetamines, can cause physical exhaustion due to their stimulating effects on the body. Users may experience insomnia, loss of appetite, and increased energy expenditure. It is crucial to manage overtraining and take care of the body to prevent adverse physical effects.

To manage overtraining, individuals should prioritize rest and ensure an adequate amount of sleep. Proper nutrition and hydration are also essential to support overall health and recovery. It is important to avoid prolonged or excessive use of speed drugs to minimize the risk of physical exhaustion and related complications.

In summary, the use of speed drugs can have immediate physical effects on the body. An overdose of these substances can result in severe symptoms and may be life-threatening. Managing overtraining and taking care of the body are crucial to minimize the physical risks associated with speed drug use. It is important to prioritize safety and seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse.


[1]: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/amphetamines
[2]: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000792.htm
[3]: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-immediate-short-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse
[4]: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/speed
[5]: https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/amphetamines