Amphetamine/methamphetamine

Synonyms

The most common synonyms are:

  • Fine crystals (smoked or injected): Crank, Crystal meth, Glass, Ice, Tina
  • Powder (injected or snorted): Chalk, Meth
  • Tablets (ingested): Candy, Peanut, Peach, Pill, Pink, Speed

Other street names include:

222, Amp, C.R., Gak, Geek, Geet, Go, Go Fast, Jib, Ladies Speed, Mye, P2P, Pink Glass, Poor Man's Coke, Prope Dope, Red Rock, Tweak, Zip, Peanut butter, Peanut, Hawaiian salt, High speed chicken feed, Koolaid, Kryptonite, Rock candy, Sketch, Soiks, Spooch, Stove top.

Classification

Stimulant:

  • Refers to a substance that stimulates mental function and increases the brain's overall activity and alertness.
Visual description
  • Methamphetamine:
    tablets (various colours and stamped with different logos), crystals (fine, transparent and shiny), powder (white or other colours)
  • Amphetamine:
    tablets (often contain a mix of amphetamines)
Mechanism of action
  • Increases the activity of catecholamine-containing neurons.
  • Increases dopamine levels in the part of the brain that mediates pleasure (mesolimbic area), which results in a feeling of euphoria and happiness.
  • Increases alertness due to its effect on noradrenaline and increases irritability due to its effect on serotonin. Repeated use leads to dopamine depletion and the individual becomes unable to experience enjoyment unless they use methamphetamine/amphetamine.
Routes of administration
  • Methamphetamine:
    smoked (the crystals are put in a pipe and the fumes are inhaled), ingested, injected or snorted
  • Amphetamine:
    mainly orally

Effects sought out by the user

  • Decreased fatigue and drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Heightened alertness and awareness
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Reduced appetite (weight loss)
  • Sense of well-being

Common toxic effects

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Digestive disorders
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth and unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia (can last a few days to a few weeks)
  • Reduced appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Teeth grinding
  • Tremors

Severe toxic or overdose effects

  • Abnormal increase in body temperature
  • Acute renal impairment
  • Agitation and violent behaviour
  • Arrhythmias
  • Cardiovascular stress (increased heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Chest pain
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death (often caused by cardiac arrest, stroke or hyperthermia)
  • Heart attack and hypertensive crisis
  • Stroke

Effects associated with chronic use

  • Behaviour similar to paranoid schizophrenia: visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution, hostility and violence
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Compulsive scratching (feeling that there are bugs under the skin)
  • Memory and mobility problems
  • Meth mouth: tooth decay, gingivitis, loss of teeth
  • Psychosis
  • Significant weight loss
  • Skin sores (acne, tooth and gum erosion)

Tolerance (need to increase the dose to feel the same effect)

Yes (quick). Tolerance to its euphoric effects develop more quickly than tolerance to the appetite suppression.

Addiction

Yes (considerable psychological dependence develops very quickly - in as few as one to two doses). The risk of addiction is ten times greater when the drug is snorted or injected.

Withdrawal

The most difficult period during withdrawal usually lasts between 1 and 3 days and causes cravings, extreme fatigue, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, sleep disturbances (prolonged but disrupted sleep), irritability, intense hunger, dysphoria and anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure).

Onset and duration of action

Route of
administration
Onset of
action
Peak
Duration of
action
Methamphetamine
Smoked0 to 2 minutesBetween 1 and 2.25 hours4 to 8 hours
IV0 to 2 minutes 4 to 8 hours
Oral30 to 40 minutesAt least 3 hours after ingestion4 to 8 hours
Snorted5 to 10 minutesAbout 4 hours4 to 8 hours
Amphetamine
Oral About 4 hours after ingestion 

Screening

  • Blood: can be detected in blood 1 to 3 days after use.
  • Hair: if hair is 2.75 cm or longer, it can be detected for up to 90 days. If hair is shorter, detection is less than 90 days.
  • Urine: can be detected in urine 3 to 6 days after use.

Intoxication management

  • No antidote available.
  • Treatment is mainly symptomatic. Activated charcoal may be administered if the ingestion is recent (only if taken orally). Do not induce vomiting due to the high risk of convulsions.

Many different street drugs are sold under the same name. Furthermore, nothing guarantees the quantity, purity or even the content of a street drug in spite of the fact that it may, in some cases, look like medication.

If you need help or want to learn more:

Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada.

www.canadadrugfree.org

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