Amphetamines are stimulant drugs, which means they speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.

Some types of amphetamines are legally prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (where a person has an uncontrollable urge to sleep). Other types of amphetamines such as speed are produced and sold illegally. 

What do they look like?

The appearance of amphetamines varies, and may be in the form of a powder, tablets, crystals and capsules. They may be packaged in ‘foils’ (aluminium foil), plastic bags or small balloons when sold illegally. Amphetamine powder can range in colour from white through to brown, sometimes it may have traces of grey or pink. It has a strong smell and bitter taste. Amphetamine capsules and tablets vary considerably in size and colour. Illegally produced amphetamines can be a mix of drugs, binding agents, caffeine and sugar. 

Slang names Speed, fast, up, uppers, louee, goey, whiz


How are they used?

Amphetamines are generally swallowed, injected or smoked, and at times also snorted.

Effects of amphetamines

Effects of amphetamines can be felt immediately (if injected or smoked) or within 30 minutes (if snorted or swallowed).

Visible signs of potential Amphetamines consumption:

  • Happiness and confidence

  • Talking more and feeling energetic

  • Large pupils and dry mouth

  • Teeth grinding

  • Reduced appetite

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Fits, passing out, breathing difficulties

  • Chills or fever

  • Arching of the back/convulsions

The Next day (in the 2 to 4 days after amphetamine use, the following symptoms may be present):

  • Restless sleep and exhaustion

  • Headaches

  • Paranoia, hallucinations and confusion

  • Twitching and muscle aches

  • Fluctuating temperatures

  • Irritability, mood swings and depression

Amphetamine psychosis

High doses and frequent heavy use can also create an ‘amphetamine psychosis’, characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and out of character aggressive or violent behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using amphetamines.

Please note the effects listed in this information do not automatically indicate that a person is under the influence of illicit drugs. This is only a guide to the possibility.