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Drug Information



What is amphetamine?

Amphetamine is a synthetic stimulant drug, commonly known as speed, whizz or powder. Amphetamine comes in a variety of forms, such as powder, (which is the most common), tablets and more rarely a paste form known as amphetamine base.

How are they used?

Amphetamine can be snorted, taken orally, smoked (amphetamine base) or injected. Snorting brings the effects on quickly but can damage the nose. Amphetamine can be taken orally in a variety of ways from swallowing tablets, mixing powder in drinks, wrapping powder in a cigarette paper and swallowing it, or absorbing powder through the tongue and gums. To inject amphetamine powder it needs to be mixed with water to form a liquid solution. Injecting increases the risk of overdose and hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (through sharing injecting equipment).

What are the effects?

Amphetamine can cause breathing and heart rate to speed up, pupils to widen, appetite to lessen and a reduction in the need for sleep. Feelings of increased confidence, talkativeness, cheerfulness and feeling more alert and energetic can result.

The effects of amphetamine can last up to 12 hours, the after effects or ‘comedown’ from using amphetamine can result in feelings of tiredness, lethargy and depression.

Prolonged amphetamine use can result in psychological dependence. Tolerance may develop resulting in an increase in the amount needed to achieve the desired effect. As a result of lack of food and sleep, long-term use can affect the immune system and result in a lowering of resistance to disease.

Amphetamine psychosis can occur with long-term heavy use, symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations and feelings of paranoia may develop. These symptoms usually disappear with time but in some individuals this may take months.

Legal Status

Amphetamine is a Class B drug.

  • The maximum penalty for possessing a Class B drug is five years in prison and/or unlimited fine.
  • The maximum penalty for supplying a Class B drug is 14 years in prison and/or unlimited fine.

If prepared for injection amphetamine becomes a Class A drug and the following penalties apply:

  • The maximum penalty for possessing a Class A drug is seven years in prison and/or unlimited fine.
  • The maximum penalty for supplying a Class A drug is life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.


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