What is methamphetamine (speed)?
Speed (methamphetamine, C10H15N) is a potent and addictive central nervous system stimulant, chemically related to amphetamine, but with greater central nervous system side effects. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.
Speed powder can range in colour from white to brown and may contain traces of grey or pink. It has a strong smell and bitter taste. It can also come as pills. It can be swallowed, injected, smoked or snorted.
How do people take it ?
- Some people crush it up and snort it
- Some people dab it onto their gums
- Some people roll it up in a cigarette paper and swallow it like a capsule, this is called ‘bombing’
- It can also be injected (which is particularly dangerous as speed is usually very impure)
- Some people mix it into their drinks
What are the effects of taking speed?
The effects of speed are felt immediately if the drug is injected or smoked, or within half an hour if snorted or swallowed. They last up to 6 hours, depending on the dose.
Speed can make people feel ‘pumped’ and happy. They may have an energy boost, feel more alert and be more talkative.
It can also cause unwanted side effects, such as:
- fast heart rate and breathing
- increased blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- increased sex drive
- large pupils
- a dry mouth
Speed can affect people differently based on:
- how much they take
- how strong it is
- their size, height and weight
- whether they are used to taking it
- whether they take other drugs at the same time
What if I use other drugs or alcohol together with speed?
Taking speed with alcohol can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Taking with it opioids or antidepressants can cause an irregular heartbeat or seizures.
Can you get addicted?
Yes, speed is an addictive drug.
If you take a lot on a regular basis you can build up a tolerance to the drug so that you need higher doses just to get the same buzz or feel ‘normal’.
Regular users can increasingly take speed to avoid unpleasant withdrawals.