What Is Amphetamine?

A powerful stimulant, amphetamine, is a DEA Schedule II drug. Though it has some recognized and accepted medical uses, it also has a high risk of abuse and addiction. This overview will discuss the history and background behind amphetamine and details about the drug, its street names, side effects, and what an amphetamine high feels like.

Amphetamine’s Historical Background

Chemist Lazar Edeleanu first synthesized amphetamine in 1887. At this time, Edeleanu, his colleagues, and others did not take note of the drug’s stimulant effects. However, by the 1930s, the medical world had discovered that amphetamine could be used as a respiratory stimulant. It was first marketed under the brand name Benzedrine to relieve nasal congestion.

Throughout the early and mid-twentieth century, amphetamine was recommended for nasal congestion and as a hangover cure and to treat depression, hyperactivity, and narcolepsy. It was also prescribed to help reduce weight, as well.

As it grew in popularity and doctors claimed that it posed no significant risk for addiction, new amphetamines were developed for oral and intravenous use. Thus, methamphetamine was derived, as well as others. Throughout World War II, it was often prescribed to soldiers and military personnel to improve alertness and to increase endurance.

As users discovered that intravenous amphetamine use could create a euphoric high, more and more people began to misuse and abuse the drug, starting in the 1960s and moving into the 1970s. As the decades have worn on, though law enforcement agencies attempt to quell amphetamine abuse, it continues to be prevalent today.

Details About Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulants that specifically affect the central nervous system. As you can see from their history, amphetamines have been used for many things. They still have some accepted medical uses, such as ADHD treatment, asthma medications, etc. However, when used recreationally, amphetamines can be highly addictive and dangerous.

In most cases, amphetamine is found in powder form, though it can also be found in pill form. Users will swallow, snort, or inject it to get high, depending on their preferred delivery system.

Street Names for Amphetamine

You will often not hear amphetamine referred to by its proper name on the street. Instead, you may hear other street names, like:

  • Bennies or Benzies
  • Crosses
  • Truck Drivers
  • LA Turnaround
  • Uppers
  • Speed
  • Footballs
  • Lid Poppers
  • Poppers
  • Wake-Ups
  • Black Beauties
  • Hearts

Side Effects of Using Amphetamine

Some of the most common side effects of amphetamine include, but are not limited to:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Excessive sweating
  • Teeth grinding
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Scratching or picking at skin
  • Twitching

In addition, snorting amphetamine can result in a deviated septum or other damage to the nasal passage. If a user shares needles when injecting amphetamine, they may also run the risk of contracting several bloodborne pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis, and tetanus.

What Does the High From Amphetamine Feel Like?

Because amphetamines are stimulants, the high with any amphetamine will generally include increased energy and alertness. Users typically feel more talkative, energetic, and happy, but their moods may be unstable. During the high, a user may feel happy one moment but then have a drastic mood swing that leads to a feeling of anxiety, paranoia, or depression the next.

While amphetamine does have some known medical uses, it is important to understand that taking too much or taking amphetamine in any way not prescribed by your doctor can result in major problems for your physical and mental health.

  • Answered by:
  • Published: 09/16/2016
  • Updated: 03/14/2023
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