Amphetamine was first marketed in the 1930’s as Benzedrine®, which was used in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion. By 1937, amphetamine was available in tablet form by prescription only and was used to treat sleep disorders, such a narcolepsy, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Eventually clandestine laboratories, which are “secret labs” and many times illegal, started producing amphetamines making the drug more widely available. Illegal lab production of the drug made it easier to acquire and abuse has increased dramatically.
Amphetamines are stimulants that speed up the body’s central nervous system which puts them in the category of “uppers”. Even today doctors still prescribe these drugs to treat narcolepsy and ADHD, and many people acquire them legally by prescription. The most common prescription amphetamines include methylphenidate (Ritalin® or Ritalin SR®), amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall®), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®). Amphetamines are Schedule II stimulants, which means that they have a high potential for abuse and are limited for medical use only. These pharmaceutical products are available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.
The administration of amphetamines can differ depending on which form it comes in. Generally the pill form is taken orally and the powder form is injected intravenously. However, with the addition of “ice,” the slang name of crystallized methamphetamine hydrochloride, has promoted smoking as another mode of administration. Just as “crack” is smokable cocaine, “ice” is smokable methamphetamine. The effects of amphetamines and methamphetamine are similar to cocaine, but their onset is slower and their duration is longer. In contrast to cocaine, which is quickly removed from the brain and is almost completely metabolized, methamphetamine remains in the central nervous system longer and a larger percentage of the drug remains unchanged in the body, producing prolonged stimulant effects.
The most common physical effects of amphetamine use include increased blood pressure and pulse rates, insomnia, loss of appetite and physical exhaustion. Chronic abuse of amphetamine/methamphetamine produces a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia and is characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, preoccupation with one’s own thoughts, auditory and visual hallucinations and erratic violent behavior. Common effects of overdose include agitation, increased body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions and even death.
Street names of amphetamine/methamphetamine include: bennies, black beauty, crank, ice, speed and uppers. Drugs that cause similar effects include: dexmethylphendiate, phentermine, benzphetamine, phendimetrazine, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and khat.
If you or someone you love has a problem with amphetamines, call our professionals at Sobriety Resources (855)289-2640 today to experience the freedom of sobriety.