What is it?
Several similar drugs are included in this prescription
stimulant drug category. Referred to as psychostimulants, they
stimulate the central nervous system. Brands such as Benzedrine,
Dexedrine, Adderall, and Provigil are used to treat conditions like
extreme obesity and narcolepsy (excessive daytime
sleepiness). When these drugs are abused, they are often
stolen, traded or sold by young people or doctorshopped by adults.
The drugs can be come addictive. They are taken to increase energy,
alertness, and stamina, and in higher doses, to induce
Speed, gaggler, pid poppers, Bennies, brown and clears, beans,
uppers, pep pills, dexes, black beauties, Louee and “hyper
How is it used?
Amphetamines are taken in pill form and can be crushed and snorted
intranasally or smoked. Provigil (methylphenidate) is mixed with
water and injected. The drugs can also be inserted anally or
Signs of usage:
In moderate doses, speech may be rapid and pupils may be dilated.
While energetic, the user may become very restless, and there may
be signs of irritability, aggressiveness, and loss of appetite. The
person may have a panic attack.
Effects of usage:
In low to moderate doses, users experience lots of energy and
alertness, sociability, and loss of appetite. The ability to
concentrate is enhanced, so students may take “uppers” to cram for
a test. At higher doses, users may experience an intense sense of
happiness and power. Users build up tolerance to abusive drug use
over time, so these highs become harder to achieve at the same
dose. Higher doses also elevate blood pressure and heart
How long do the effects last?
Effects of use last 2 to 4 hours, but the half-life (time taken to
lose half of the amount of the drug from the system through natural
biological activity) of these drugs can last 24 hours.
Effects of withdrawal:
When the amphetamine abuser starts to “come down,” the symptoms
range widely but may include radical mood swings, hunger, anxiety,
depression, and total exhaustion. Sleep may be interrupted by
nightmares. To avoid withdrawal, some users re-dose for a
several-day high, or take sedatives and other drugs.
After the initial energetic high, users may feel irritable and
extremely restless or anxious, hostile, violent, or aggressive. The
long half-life of the drug makes it difficult to sleep even the
night after using. High doses may result in headaches, stomach
cramping, loss of coordination, and trouble breathing. Injecting
the drug is dangerous because it travels quickly to the brain, and
other materials may be present in the drug. Overdosing may result
in stroke, seizures, high body temperatures, and heart
Effects of prolonged usage:
Abuse over time can result in psychotic tendencies with paranoia or
hallucinations, aggressive and violent behavior, insomnia,
restlessness, tremors, and weight loss. Serious physical risks of
long-term abuse include lung, liver, kidney and heart damage,
erectile dysfunction, and an impaired immune system. There is also
some evidence of memory loss and impaired thinking.
Usage by youth:
Young people who abuse amphetamines often get them from students
who have been prescribed the drugs for ADHD. In 1999, more than
half of emergency room admissions for abuse of methylphenidate
(including Ritalin) were youths aged ten through 17. The Monitoring
the Future Study in 1999 reported 3 percent of high school seniors
had used this drug for non-medical reasons in the past year.
Use of amphetamines by students and professional athletes still
occurs. It was only in 2006 that Major League Baseball banned the
substance, but consequences are less severe than using steroids.
*Information provided by Dr. Barbara
A. Krantz, Chief Medical Officer at the Hanley Center
*First Check Diagnostics Corp. is offering these resources for
informational purposes only, and the Hanley Center is no way
affiliated with any of he entities that provide the