“Speed” is a street name for various stimulant drugs that teens, young adults and others use to feel more alert and focused, and in some cases, to feel high. Some people also use various forms of speed to reduce their appetite. Types of speed include:

  • Amphetamines (used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy and depression)

  • Methamphetamine (a powerful stimulant street drug)

Methamphetamine is much more potent and faster-acting than amphetamine, but both types of drugs involve serious risks. Unfortunately, many teens and young adults take speed in the form of amphetamine pills without a prescription in order to improve their performance in academics, sports, and other areas. Both types of speed are also taken recreationally, often mixed with other drugs. Despite the sought-after, short-term effects of some forms of speed, all forms of speed are dangerous and addictive.

Prescription drugs used as speed include:
  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • DextroStat
  • Dexosyn
Speed goes by street names such as:
  • Beans
  • Beanies
  • Black Beauties
  • Christmas Trees
  • Dexies
  • Eye-openers
  • Pep pills
  • Wake-ups
Street names for methamphetamine include:
  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Glass
  • Go
  • Ice
  • Redneck cocaine
  • Tina
  • Tick-tock
  • Scootie
  • Spoosh
  • Yellow Powder

Effects and Risks of Speed

Speed makes the central nervous system more active than normal, increasing alertness, sensory perception and mood. When the effects wear off, users feel exhausted or depressed. As a result, they often feel a strong craving for more. This cycle can lead to physical tolerance, physical or psychological dependence and addiction. 

The short-term effects of speed that users seek include:
  • Heightened energy
  • Heightened awareness
  • Excitement
  • Euphoria (pleasure)
  • Increased focus
  • Better concentration
However, the side effects of these drugs far outweigh the benefits. These include:
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of focus
  • Fever
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
Long-term health risks of speed include:
  • Anorexia
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Stroke
  • Psychosis
  • Heart attack and other heart problems
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Brain damage

Methamphetamine is especially addictive and dangerous. Meth can cause permanent brain damage, especially to the areas of the brain that manage emotions and memory. Other long-term effects of meth use are:

  • Emotional instability
  • Cognitive problems
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations/ psychosis
  • Skin sores
  • Malnutrition, weight loss
  • Dental problems (known as meth mouth)
  • Damage to vital organs
  • Stroke

How Young People Use Speed

Young people who want to improve their academic or sports performance tend to take Adderall and other prescription stimulants by simply swallowing them in their pill form. People who use speed recreationally tend to crush the pills and snort the powder, causing a more intense but shorter-lasting high. Meth can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed.


Signs and Symptoms of Speed Abuse

If you’re worried that your child might be using speed, here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • Seemingly boundless energy.People under the influence of speed often have a sense of heightened awareness and energy, and they feel like they can do anything.
  • Unexplained weight loss and/or loss of appetite.Speed can increase users’ metabolism and reduce their appetite.
  • Emotional instability.People who use speed can fluctuate between feeling great under the influence of the drug and feeling down once its effects wear off.
  • Loss of interest in activities.People who use speed recreationally may lose interest in friends and activities they once enjoyed. (However, people who use stimulants for their effects on school or sports performance tend to continue their interest in those activities.
  • Hyperactivity.People under the influence of speed can be irritable, restless and fidgety.
  • Skin sores.Some users of the methamphetamine form of speed have the sensation of itchy skin, so they often scratch until they have developed sores.
  • Dental problems.Methamphetamine users can develop dry mouth, resulting in tooth decay.


Ice and speed are both different forms of a drug called methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant, one of the amphetamine group of drugs manufactured from readily available chemicals. 

Methamphetamine is available in three different forms commonly known as speed, base and ice but they differ in their purity. Ice is about 80% pure, whereas speed is typically around 10-20% pure. 

Speed usually comes in the form of white or yellow powder, but can also be bought as pills. People either sniff it through the nose (snort it), inject it or swallow it in tablet or capsule form. 

Ice is the purest form of methamphetamine available in Australia. It usually looks like colourless to white crystals or a coarse crystal-like powder, but it can also appear in other colours. Ice is also called crystal, crystal meth, meth or shabu. Ice is usually smoked or injected.

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