Amphetamines are stimulants that speed up the body's system. Some are legally prescribed and used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Amphetamines were first marketed in the 1930s in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion. Later they became available by prescription in tablet form and used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and ADHD.
Over the years, the use and abuse of clandestinely produced amphetamines have spread. The abuse of the drug has increased dramatically. Common street names include: Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, and Uppers.
Amphetamines can look like pills or powder. Prescription drugs that include amphetamines are: Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, and Desoxyn. Amphetamines are generally taken orally or injected, however, "ice" is smokable.
The effects of amphetamines are similar to cocaine, but their onset is slower and their duration is longer. Chronic abuse produces a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia and is characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, preoccupation with one's own thoughts, and auditory and visual hallucinations. Violent and erratic behavior is frequently seen among chronic users. Amphetamine use increases blood pressure and pulse rates, causes insomnia, loss of appetite, and physical exhaustion.
Overdose effects include: agitation, increase body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions and possible death.
Many amphetamines are Schedule II stimulants, which means that they have a high potential for abuse and a currently acceptable medical use (FDA-approved products). Pharmaceutical products are available only through a prescription and cannot be refilled.