Also called: speed, amphetamine sulphate, uppers, phet, billy, whiz, sulph, base, dexedrine, dexamphetamine.

How it’s used

Amphetamine is a stimulant (‘upper’). It can be a powder or tablet which you sniff, swallow or inject. Speed is an off-white or pinkish powder and can sometimes look like crystals. Base speed is purer and is a pinkish grey colour and feels like putty. You can dab speed onto your gums or sniff in lines like cocaine using a rolled up bank note. You can also roll it up in a cigarette paper and swallow. This is called a ‘speedbomb’. You can mix it in drinks or inject it. You can smoke methamphetamine in its ‘crystal’ form. It starts to affect you within 20 minutes and lasts for 4-6 hours.

Short-term effects

•    You feel exhilarated, with more energy and confidence
•    You don’t need much sleep or food
•    Your pupils look wider and your face paler
•    Your breathing and heart rate increase and blood pressure rises
•    Dry mouth, diarrhoea, need to urinate more often
•    Higher doses also cause flushing, sweating, headaches, teeth grinding, jaw clenching and racing heart
•    You may be talkative and aggressive
•    Can sometimes cause amphetamine psychosis, when you lose contact with reality

Long-term effects

• Tolerance – you need to take more to get the same buzz
• Anxiety, depression, irritability and aggression
• Powerful cravings
• You may become violent
• Mood swings
• Mental health problems such as psychosis, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations
• Weight loss
• Scratching or itchy skin
• Sniffing speed can damage the inside lining of your nose
• Injecting speed can cause vein damage and sharing needles puts you at risk of HIV and hepatitis

Other dangers

• Risk of overdose
• Heart failure
• Very dangerous if you combine it with anti-depressants or alcohol
• Risk of HIV and hepatitis if you share snorting or injecting gear
• May trigger underlying mental health problems
• Increased sex drive can lead to unsafe sex, with the risk of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV

If you are pregnant

Do not take if you are pregnant as we don’t know what the risks are to your baby.


You can become addicted to speed physically and psychologically, so your body craves it and you find it hard to cope with life without it.


You may have anxiety and panic attacks after withdrawal from speed. You may feel you have no energy for weeks afterwards. 

How long does it stay in your system?

Speed will show up in a urine test for 1-2 days depending on quantity used and own metabolism.