Amphetamines are a family of related drugs – each with its own recipe – and are taken in different ways. Amphetamines have a strong smell and bitter taste.
What happens after using amphetamines?
- The heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increase. The person may have a dry mouth, sweat more, his or her pupils may increase in size and they may get a headache
- He or she feels they have more energy and are more alert. They feel more confident, are more talkative, restless, excited, and have difficulty sleeping
- He or she loses their appetite
- Irritability: Some people become tense, angry and aggressive.
Using large amounts may lead to the person having headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, shakes, irregular heartbeat, stomach cramps, sweating, restlessness, irregular breathing and paranoia, loss of co-ordination, collapsing, hallucinations and behaving in an aggressive or violent way.
Can a person overdose on amphetamines?
Street amphetamines usually contain a mixture of pure amphetamines and other substances or chemicals. Due to the unknown strength and mix of street amphetamines, some users have overdosed and experienced strokes, heart failure, seizures and high body temperature. Some have died as a result. If a person injects amphetamines, he or she runs a greater risk of overdosing due to large amounts of the drug entering the blood stream and quickly travelling to the brain.
What happens if a person mixes amphetamines with other drugs?
Taking other drugs as a way of coping with some of the undesirable effects of amphetamines may result in a ‘roller coaster’ dependence on several drugs.
For example, some people need amphetamines each day to get them going, and benzodiazepines each night to get them to sleep. This type of dependence can lead to a variety of serious physical, mental and emotional problems.
What are the long-term effects of using amphetamines?
Regular use of amphetamines may result in serious sleeping problems, anxiety and tension, high blood pressure and a rapid and irregular heartbeat. Malnutrition (as a result of people being less likely to eat properly), psychosis, less resistance to infections and violence may occur with long-term regular use.
There is some evidence that brain cells can be damaged, resulting in possible reduced memory function and other impairments in thinking. Sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment can greatly increase the risk of the user contracting Hepatitis and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).