What are Amphetamines
A family of psychoactive drugs that stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) is referred to as amphetamines. The collective group of amphetamines includes amphetamine, levoamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine.
Amphetamines work by delivering a blast of energy, assurance and focus to the brain. These drugs affect the brain’s neurons and the way they absorb the natural chemicals that help communicate data in the brain when taken in moderate doses. Students, truck drivers and others who want to stay awake use it the way they use caffeine, but amphetamines are much more powerful and affect brain function in a way that continued use of caffeine doesn’t.
Amphetamine is an “upper” that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. Studies estimate that between 2 to 4 million children have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and been prescribed amphetamines, like Ritalin.
New Warnings about Amphetamines are out
The effects of using amphetamines and cocaine are similar, but amphetamines are longer-lasting. According to the World Health Organization, there are about 20 countries in which the use of Amphetamines is more prevalent than the use of heroin and cocaine combined. In 2018, warnings about amphetamine misuse were reported to be increasingly comparable to the opioid epidemic. In fact, the number of people dying from amphetamine addiction increased by 30% between the years 2016 and 2017.
Amphetamines are the opposite of Opioids
Amphetamine abuse differs from opioid (heroin, oxycontin, benzodiazepines abuse. Opioids are downers and amphetamines are considered uppers. Combining both drugs for a paradox effect can be dangerous and can quickly evolve into amphetamine addiction. Amphetamine addiction is said to be more challenging to treat than opioid addiction, because there are currently no medication-assisted therapies to treat an addiction to stimulants. The website myDr.com points out, “There is no safe level of amphetamine use.” Even when prescribed by a physician, all drugs have side effects and unintended consequences. Nonetheless, legal prescriptions to amphetamines continually increase and carry the same harsh side effects as illicit use.
What do Amphetamines look like
Amphetamines come in the form of a powder, tablets, crystals and capsules. They may be illegally packaged in aluminum foil, plastic bags or small balloons. Amphetamine powder can range in color from white to brown, sometimes it may have sprinkles of grey or pink. It has a strong smell and bitter taste. Amphetamine capsules and tablets vary considerably and be hard to distinguish. Unlawfully produced amphetamines can be a mix of drugs, binding agents, caffeine, and sugar. Amphetamines are commonly mixed with other drugs including alcohol for more intense effects.
“Look-alike” drugs, which imitate the effects of amphetamines and contain substances legally available over-the-counter, including caffeine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, are sold on the street as “speed” and “uppers.”
When amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887, by the German chemist L. Edeleano, the stimulant effects were not noticed. In the early 1930s, when amphetamine’s CNS stimulant properties and use as a respiratory stimulant were discovered it was marketed as an inhaler for nasal congestion (Benzedrine©). At this time, medical professionals recommended amphetamine as a cure for a range of ailments—alcohol hangover, narcolepsy, depression, weight reduction, hyperactivity in children, and vomiting associated with pregnancy. The use of amphetamine grew rapidly because it was inexpensive, readily available, had long lasting effects, and because professionals purported that amphetamine did not pose an addiction risk. Oral and intravenous preparations of amphetamine derivatives, including methamphetamine, were developed and became available for therapeutic purposes. During World War II, the military in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan used amphetamines to increase alertness and endurance and to improve mood. Abuse began rising during the 1960s and 1970s with the discovery that the intravenous injection of amphetamines (particularly methamphetamine) produced enhanced euphoric effects with a more rapid onset than oral administration. Although structurally similar to amphetamine, methamphetamine has more pronounced effects on the CNS. Between 1986 and 1989, law enforcement and treatment admission professionals in Hawaii reported that abuse of a concentrated form of methamphetamine (known as “ice,” “glass,” and “crystal”) was increasing.
Amphetamine’s Effects On The Brain
When amphetamines are used, the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine are released from nerve endings in the brain and their reuptake is inhibited. This a buildup of these neurotransmitters at synapses in the brain. When nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are activated by amphetamine, the mental focus, the ability to stay awake, and the ability to concentrate is improved, which is helpful for those with hyperactivity disorders or narcolepsy. Although the physiological experience of using amphetamines and cocaine is almost identical, the effects of amphetamines can last several hours whereas the effects of cocaine generally last less than one hour. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, the effects of prescription amphetamines are enhanced. The onset of effects from injecting methamphetamines occurs immediately. When this drug is snorted, effects occur within 3 to 5 minutes; when ingested orally, effects occur within 15 to 20 minutes.
Methods Of Use
Amphetamine and methamphetamine pills can be ingested orally, crushed and snorted, dissolved in water and injected, or smoked (inhalation of the vaporized drug). “Glass” and “ice” (pure methamphetamine, which look like clear crystalline rock) is most often smoked (vaporized and inhaled) in a glass pipe, allowing for quick absorption into the bloodstream without the risks of injecting the drug. “Crystal” the powder form of methamphetamines, is consumed orally, injected, or inhaled.
The National Drug Intelligence Center reports that between two and four million children have been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and as a result been legally prescribed amphetamine, which can improve symptoms when used properly When prescription amphetamines are taken orally and in low doses, drug abuse and addiction is not a serious risk. However, drug addiction becomes a risk when prescription amphetamines are consumed at doses higher than those prescribed for medical treatment.
Abuse of amphetamines, which can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence, is characterized by consuming increasingly higher dosages, and by the “binge and crash” cycle, when users attempt to maintain their high by overindulging on these drugs. When binge episodes end, the abuser “crashes” and is left with severe depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue, and a craving for more drugs. The chronic abuse of amphetamine and methamphetamine is characterized by violent and erratic behavior, as well as a psychosis similar to schizophrenia, that can involve paranoia, picking at the skin, and auditory/visual hallucinations. All forms of methamphetamine are highly addictive and toxic.
A family of psychoactive drugs that stimulate the central nervous system is referred to as amphetamines. The collective group of amphetamines includes amphetamine, levoamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine. Amphetamine is an “upper” that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. In 2018, warnings about amphetamine misuse were reported to be increasingly comparable to the opioid epidemic. In fact, the number of people dying from amphetamine addiction increased by 30% between the years 2016 and 2017.