What are the risks?
Taking speed does involve risks. Here’s what it could do to you:
- Depending on how much you’ve taken, it can be difficult to relax or sleep.
- The ‘comedown’, which can last a number of days, can make users feel really lethargic and down, and you can develop difficulty concentrating and with learning.
- Speed puts a strain on your heart, so it's definitely not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition – users have died from taking too much.
- Mixing speed with anti-depressants or alcohol has been known to kill.
- Taking a lot of speed, alongside its effects on diet and sleep, can give your immune system a battering – so you could get more colds, flu and sore throats,
- Speed can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression and paranoia; as well as mental illness, even to acute psychotic episodes (this is a mental state when you see or hear things which aren't there and have delusions).
- Injecting speed is particularly dangerous. It's much easier to overdose when injecting. Speed is usually very impure, so it’s not just the amphetamine that goes in to your bloodstream.
- Injecting can also cause damage to veins and arteries, and may cause ulcers and even gangrene (that’s when bits of the body start to die).
- Viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS infections can be spread by users sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment.
How pure is speed?
It’s not unusual for drugs to have things added to them to increase the weight and the dealer’s profits. Speed can be cut with other cheaper amphetamines, caffeine, ephedrine, sugars (like glucose), starch powder, laxatives, talcum powder, paracetamol and other drugs with some similar effects.
Some impurities can be added by mistake, as impurities can be formed during the manufacturing process for speed.
Speed is usually a very impure street drug – most of the powder in a wrap only contains 5-15% amphetamine sulphate. Base speed is usually somewhat purer.
Can you get addicted to speed?
Speed is an addictive drug - the more you take, the more you tend to want to take. If you take a lot on a regular basis you build a tolerance to the drug so that you need higher doses just to get the same buzz or just to feel 'normal'; this increases the risks associated with speed.
With regular use, you may increasingly take speed to avoid unpleasant withdrawals.