What is speed?

Speed is a drug made from a branch of the amphetamine range. It is a potent, addictive central nervous system stimulant. People take it to feel energised, alert, confident and outgoing.

It is available as a powder or tablet that dissolves easily in water or alcohol. It comes in many different colours, but a rule of thumb is that “whiter is better”. It can be smoked, injected, snorted or taken orally.

Speed is relatively easy to produce in small “backyard workshops”, as the separate ingredients can be legally bought, which makes it somewhat cheaper. The proliferation of shady backyard producers means the purity and ingredients differ widely, so the outcome and risks are unpredictable.

Apart from “speed”, it has many other street names, including; base, black beauties, billy, blues, chalk, dexys, eve, gas, gogo, grudge, point, pure, snow, sulphate, whizz, zip, etc.

After smoking or injection, the user has a sudden, intense, very pleasant sensation called a “rush”. Oral and snorting methods also produce a “high”, but not as sudden and intense as a “rush”.

While intoxicated, a user is in a high state of mental and physical activity for longer periods than the body can normally handle. To make matters worse, dealers dilute the drug with all sorts of dodgy “fillers”, with toxic poisoning and chemical conflicts adding to the unpleasant after-effects.

The initial “high” is followed by a long, slow downswing, along with fatigue, mood changes and a craving for more of the drug. The long term effects are more numerous and devastating.

Short-term effects

  • A sense of well-being, exhilaration, energy.
  • Hyperactivity and increased libido.
  • Restlessness, fidgeting, unable to remain still.
  • Confidence, talkativeness, intense concentration.
  • Nonsensical rambling, repetitive stories.
  • Dilated pupils, paleness in face.
  • High temperature, flushing, sweating, dry mouth.
  • Fast breathing, rapid pulse, high blood pressure.
  • Loss of appetite, increased urination.
  • Headache, teeth grinding, jaw clenching.

High doses can cause blurred vision, nausea, nervousness, irritability, paranoia, delusion, confusion, anxiety, aggression, diarrhea, overheating, bleeding in the brain, convulsions, fainting, cardiovascular collapse, coma, stroke, and heart attack.

Long term effects

  • Extreme craving for the drug.
  • Tolerance – over time, you need more and more to get the same relieve.
  • Restlessness, doing repetitive and meaningless tasks.
  • Insomnia, chronic sleep problems.
  • Abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Loss of control over urinary functions.
  • Impotence, tremors, fatigue.
  • Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, agitation.
  • Aggression, hostility, recklessness, violence.
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
  • Psychosis, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations.
  • Craving for sugary foods (also causes tooth decay).
  • Infected gums and mouth (from rubbing speed on gums).
  • Cracked teeth through grinding of teeth.
  • Damaged inner nose lining (due to snorting).
  • High risk of acquiring hepatitis, HIV, other diseases.
  • Nerve cell damage, attention and memory loss.
  • Death from heart failure or stroke.

On the social level, it leads to unemployment, financial problems, clashes with the law, loss of family and friends, etc.

In addition, children of speed users are more likely to suffer some form of child abuse, like accidents due to neglect or accidental exposure to the drug.

Treatment for “speed” abuse

Treatment for speed abuse must be started as soon as possible. Speed users acquire long-term side effects relatively quickly. If use of the drug is not stopped timeously, some of the effects become irreversible.

Behavioural therapy, under guidance of experienced addiction therapists, is the most effective treatment. Combined with family (and employer) education, as well as reinforcement of drug-replacement activities, it opens the door to a new start in life.

If you are concerned about someone else, or want to save yourself, call us today for advice or to arrange a highly confidential interview with a professional therapist – This simple act may be the most important thing you ever do.