A quick guide to amphetamines including speed and methamphetamine. This guide is a quick look at the common names, uses, appearance and effects of amphetamines.

Speed is also called:

Uppers, phets, billy, whizz, base, dexies, ups, black beauties, pep pills, copilots and bumblebees.

Appearance and uses

Speed is usually bought in wraps of white/slightly pinky powder. Base is a purer form that and is pinkish grey and almost putty like. Shockingly it is not only street drugs that carry risk, any amphetamine medication can be habit-forming.

Amphetamines can come as capsules, pills and tablets and can be taken orally, dabbed on gums, inhaled or injected. Sometimes wrapped in cigarette paper, it can be swallowed – this is known as a speed bomb.

Common effects

The effects on a user during the ‘up’ time are extra energy, confidence, cheerfulness, prevention of sleep, reduced appetite, sped up breathing and heart rate and widened pupils.

Unwanted effects: even during a ‘high’ the user can get paranoid, breathless and have difficulty sleeping. Users have overdosed and died. During the ‘down’ time feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, anxiety, panic and anger are common. Speed makes a user run down and suppresses the immune system. It can also interfere with antidepressants and alcohol, the consequences can be fatal. Unwanted psychological effects of amphetamine use can include paranoia and psychosis.


Yes, both physically and psychologically.


Methamphetamine is also known as: crank, crystal meth, glass and ice.

Appearance and uses

Methamphetamine usually comes in crystalline form, like crack cocaine, which is easily smoked.

The effects

Similar to those of crack cocaine, the initial high creates an intense feeling of exhilaration and increases activity level and arousal. It suppresses appetite and makes the user feel more awake. The effects of crystal meth can be longer lasting than that of crack somewhere between 4 and 12 hours.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive.

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