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Amphetamine Abuse

more about Amphetamine Abuse


"Cat", "crystal", "speed", "bennies", "ups", "jollies", "uppers", and "dexies" are some of the street names for amphetamine.


  • Medically, forms of amphetamine (e.g., Dexedrine) are used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  In the 60s and 70s it was the diet pill of choice, often dispensed by doctors like candy, without any understanding of the damaging psychological and physical side effects it induced.
  • The illegal street version of amphetamine, i.e., speed, is often "cooked up" in a dangerously explosive, "homemade" laboratory, to produce a powdered substance that can be inhaled, snorted, injected, smoked, or swallowed.
  • Speed is a stimulant. In general, it causes euphoria, although repeated, excessive use can result in Anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and other forms of mental and extreme emotional distress.  Medically, amphetamine affects the part of the nervous system that "revs up" the body similar to adrenaline.
  • It is extremely psychologically addictive (intensely craved), but it is not physically addictive like narcotics, such as heroin (physical addiction means, an individual becomes ill when he attempts to discontinue a drug).
  • Nevertheless, it tends to have a devastating, negative impact on one's lifestyle, health, and work.


  • Sweating
  • Heart racing
  • Dilated eyes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hyperactivity
  • Confusion
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Depression after quitting or prolonged use.
  • Malnutrition due to suppression of appetite (especially with amphetamines)


  • Urine test is best.
  • Blood test not usually sensitive enough to find these drugs


  • Addiction:
    1. Bromocriptine may help craving
    2. Addiction treatment programs
    3. If addicted, never stop suddenly without medical or psychiatric help.
    4. Do not take speed (at all) if you have a medical condition or you are taking other drugs or medications.
  • Overdose:
    1. Maintain airway
    2. Mechanical ventilation if necessary
    3. Treat coma, heart attacks, or Seizures as they occur
    4. Diazepam or Midazolam for agitation or psychosis
    5. If overdose by mouth, gastric lavage (pump stomach) and charcoal -- do not induce vomiting.
    6. Phentolamine, nifedipine, or labetalol for elevated blood pressure (do not use pure beta-blockers by themselves for elevated blood pressure due to Amphetamine Abuse)
    7. Esmolol for rapid heart race/rapid heart arrhythmias (this is a pure beta-blocker so another agent must be used to treat elevated blood pressure if this is occurring)


  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Aortic Dissection
  • Psychosis
  • Lung damage
  • Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
  • Fetal abnormalities
  • Placental abruption
  • Premature births





more about Amphetamine Abuse


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