What are amphetamines?
Amphetamines are stimulating substances, meaning they speed up the central nervous system. The term “amphetamines” groups both amphetamines and other molecules derived from this substance, such as:
- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or ecstasy
- diethylpropion, mazindol and phentermine, which are appetite suppressors
Some of these substances can be legally prescribed for the treatment of certain pathologies. For example, methylphenidate is used to treat Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and is sold, under the name Ritalin®, among others. Dextroamphetamine is used to treat narcolepsy, which is an overwhelming need to sleep at any time. Others can be used to treat obesity because of their appetite supressing properties.
Pure amphetamines are fine, white and odourless powders. Once transformed, they can come in the form of pills, crystals or powders. And depending on their form, they can either be swallowed (pills), injected, smoked or sniffed.
Although amphetamines have therapeutic benefits for the treatments of ADHD and narcolepsy, they are usually taken at much greater doses for their euphoric and stimulating properties, and even for their hallucinogenic ones.
The effects of amphetamines
Their effects are similar to those of cocaine but they are more powerful and longer lasting. Among their effects, people can feel:
- a sense of well-being
- an increase of energy and alertness
- an increase of self-confidence
- a lack of appetite and fatigue
- an increase in libido and loss of inhibition
When the substance is ingested, the effects can be felt 15 to 20 minutes later, whereas, effects are felt immediately when it is injected or sniffed and can sometimes last up to 12 hours.
Like any other psychoactive substance, the effects of amphetamines depend on many factors other than the substance itself: the quantity that was taken, the absorption method, the psychological state of the person using, etc.
In addition, as with any substance produced and distributed on the black market, amphetamines can be mixed with other products. Which means that people who are using cannot be sure of the exact composition of what they bought and therefore cannot anticipate the effects they will feel.