COCAINE ELEPHANTI’ve heard of speed, it’s been around for years hasn’t it?
Yes, speed seems to go in and out of fashion as a recreational drug, it’s an amphetamine which is a stimulant. It’s been used in the past to keep soldiers awake (and aggressive), and as an appetite suppressant in “slimming tablets”. Clubbers use it to stay awake for long periods of time and street gangs have used it to “pump themselves up” before a fight.

But it must be fairly safe, is it?
Absolutely no! The risks are pretty well known, and it can directly or indirectly kill you, you can overdose, particularly if you’re injecting. It’s highly addictive, and dealers cut it with some pretty dodgy stuff, so the usual warning over not knowing what you’re taking applies.

So, what are the risks?
Apart from getting cheated by buying some ground up aspirin, or dangerously cut with some pretty dodgy stuff- lets go through these….

Depending on how much you’ve taken, it can be difficult to relax or sleep afterwards. The ‘comedown’, which can last a number of days, can make users feel really lethargic and down, and you can develop difficulty with concentrating and with memory for some time afterwards.

Taking a lot of speed, alongside its effects on diet and sleep, can give your immune system a battering – so you could get more colds, flu and sore throats.

Speed can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression and paranoia as well as mental illness.it can even lead to acute psychotic episodes.
Injecting speed is particularly dangerous. It’s much easier to overdose when injecting. Speed is usually very impure, so remember, it’s not just the amphetamine that goes in to your bloodstream.

Injecting can also cause damage to veins and arteries, and may cause ulcers and even gangrene (that’s when bits of the body start to die).

Viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS infections can be spread by users sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment.

Speed puts a strain on your heart, so it’s definitely not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition (known or unknown!!) this can cause a stroke which can incapacitate or kill you.

Mixing speed, even in fairly small amounts, with anti-depressants or alcohol has been known to kill. It can catch out first time or casual users, and clubbers taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol are frankly asking for trouble. 

And it’s obviously illegal?
Yes, obviously, it’s a Class B drug and it’s illegal to have, give away or sell. Speed that has been prepared for injection becomes a Class A drug and can get you tougher sentencing if you’re caught with it or selling it.  Possession can get you up to 5 years and an unlimited fine, or 7 years if for injecting  Supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you up to 14 years and an unlimited fine and up to life if for injecting.

Speed is one of these “politically and socially emotive drugs” perhaps because it’s been around for so long, and it tends to be used by groups already stigmatised in society, so it’s not the drug of choice for the trendy jet setters! This tends to call for “my learned friends of the legal system” handing out some pretty stiff sentences. So be warned!

Oh! And if you think Speed isn’t dangerous enough, and you surely do if you’ve been reading this, have a look at Methamphetamine, all the dangers of speed and more!

Not good?
No, not good, as they say “speed kills”! 
Speed is addictive, and physical and psychological dependency can set in and trap you in a downward cycle. Here, the way to go is getting a medically supervised detox, and an aftercare programme is advised. See our sections on Detox

If anything on this page sounds uncomfortably familiar or is causing you to worry, then it is probably worth getting some advice. After all, an informed decision is often the best decision- what have you got to lose?

For confidential help and advice, have a look behind door 1 to find the nearest drug and alcohol service to you.