Amphetamines

NB! Drugs effects vary according to the psychological state and the health of the person concerned, the context in which the drug is taken as well as the quality of the drug and the quantity consumed.

Description

Made in underground laboratories from chemical molecules, the amphetamine group also includes methamphetamine, which is more powerful than amphetamine. Also called “speed” (amphetamines) and “crystal meth” (methamphetamine), it comes in the form of a powder to be sniffed, injected or inhaled as crystals or also in the form of tablets for oral intake.

Amphetamines are psychoactive substances which are:

  • illegal
  • synthetic
  • a stimulant.

Desired effects

  • Feeling of wellbeing, intense and immediate mental and physical stimulation
  • Great self-assurance, feeling of power and self-confidence
  • Insensitivity to hunger or fatigue

Physical symptoms

  • Increase in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils

Immediate risks

  • Serious cardiovascular disorders (increase in body temperature, heart rate, respiratory depression)
  • Behavioural disorders, agitation, anxiety, depressive states, confusion, paranoia, hallucinations
  • Impulsiveness and violence (particularly with methamphetamine)
  • Risk related to the injection: transmission of infectious diseases when sharing syringes (HIV, hepatitis etc.)
  • Risk of overdose: loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, death

Long-term risks

  • Neurological disorders
  • Psychiatric complications: panic attacks, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, chronic fatigue, depression, paranoia, psychosis
  • Memory disorders, decision-making difficulties, verbal reasoning disorders
  • Psychological dependence

Sciensano collects data and analyses the consumption of drugs, the drug market, the consequences for health, requests for treatment and the policies implemented with regard to drugs in Belgium.

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