Where's the freaking info about speed?

Originally Published: November 1, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 16, 2012
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Dear Alice,

I am a recovering speed freak. I was all whacked out of my skull for too long. Literally too long, like seven or eight days at a time, and I don't see one freaking bit of info on what I see to be a major problem in the youth of today, and I would like it if you could put something in here about speed.

Thank you,

SPUN CHICKEN!

Dear SPUN CHICKEN!,

Glad to hear you're less whacked. While you were out, a few drug questions were covered in the Alcohol & Other Drugs archives. You can check these out for tons of information on a whole variety of uppers, downers, and all-arounders. While these questions and answers may deal with drugs other than amphetamines and other stimulants, they address issues common to all drug use. These include myths, facts, motivations for use, abuse, and addiction, rehabilitation, and resources for help.

Amphetamines may be used legally (with a doctor's prescription) as appetite suppressants for weight control, and for treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, narcolepsy, and depression. In low doses, amphetamines temporarily increase alertness and reduce fatigue. Illegally, speed, also called crank, meth, crystal, and ice, is usually snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed to produce feelings of exhilaration, excitement, and euphoria.

The name “speed” is derived from the fact that the drug literally speeds you up. Speed increases heart and respiratory rates, and can produce an irregular heartbeat, increase perspiration, and raise body temperature. Paranoia, anxiety, and panic are the most common negative psychological effects of speed. All of these effects can add up to a chemically induced stress response. Long-term use can lead to hallucinations, delusions, and violent and self-destructive behavior. Overdosing on speed can send you into convulsions, high fevers, coma, and possibly death, from heart failure, ruptured blood vessels in the brain, or hyperthermia.

Hope this information helps you keep your foot on the break. Speeding tickets (and the health effects of speed) are certainly no fun.

Alice