Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs, which means they speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.1, 2
Some types of amphetamines are prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (where a person has an uncontrollable urge to sleep). Amphetamines have also been used to treat Parkinson’s disease.3, 4 Other types of amphetamines, such as speed, are produced and sold illegally. Amphetamines have been also been taken as performance enhancement drugs. The most potent form is crystal methamphetamine (ice).4 5
What do they look like?
The appearance of amphetamines varies from a powder and tablet form, to crystals and capsules. They may be packaged in ‘foils’ (aluminium foil), plastic bags or small balloons when sold illegally.6
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.7
Illegally produced amphetamines can be a mix of drugs, binding agents, caffeine and sugar. New psychoactive substances may also be added.6