WHAT ARE AMPHETAMINES?
Amphetamines are stimulants that speed up the body’s
system. Many are legally prescribed and used to treat
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
WHAT IS THEIR ORIGIN?
Amphetamine was first marketed in the 1930s as Benzedrine
in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion.
By 1937 amphetamine was available by prescription in
tablet form and was used in the treatment of the sleeping
disorder narcolepsy and ADHD.
Over the years, the use and abuse of clandestinely produced
amphetamines have spread. Today, clandestine laboratory
production of amphetamines has mushroomed, and the
abuse of the drug has increased dramatically.
What are common street names?
Common street names include:
Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, and Uppers
What do they look like?
Amphetamines can look like pills or powder. Common prescription
amphetamines include methylphenidate (Ritalin or Ritalin SR),
amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall), and
How are they abused?
Amphetamines are generally taken orally or injected. However, the
addition of “ice,” the slang name of crystallized methamphetamine
hydrochloride, has promoted smoking as another mode of
administration. Just as “crack” is smokable cocaine, “ice” is
What is their effect on the mind?
The effects of amphetamines and methamphetamine are similar
to cocaine, but their onset is slower and their duration is longer.
In contrast to cocaine, which is quickly removed from the brain
and is almost completely metabolized, methamphetamine
remains in the central nervous system longer, and a larger
percentage of the drug remains unchanged in the body, producing
prolonged stimulant effects.
Chronic abuse produces a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia
and is characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, preoccupation
with one’s own thoughts, and auditory and visual hallucinations.
Violent and erratic behavior is frequently seen among chronic
users of amphetamines and methamphetamine.
What is their effect on the body?
Physical effects of amphetamine use include:
Increased blood pressure and pulse rates, insomnia, loss of
appetite, and physical exhaustion
What are their overdose effects?
Overdose effects include:
Agitation, increased body temperature, hallucinations,
convulsions, and possible death
Which drugs cause similar effects?
Drugs that cause similar effects include:
Dexmethylphendiate, phentermine, benzphetamine,
phendimetrazine, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine,
What is their legal status in the United States?
Amphetamines are Schedule II stimulants, which means that
they have a high potential for abuse and a currently acceptable
medical use (in FDA-approved products). Pharmaceutical
products are available only through a prescription that cannot
SOURCE: A DEA Resource Guide 2017 Edition