What is Speed?
Speed, or methamphetamine, is a white powder that is closely related to amphetamine, but typically elicits more effects on the central nervous system.
The US Drug Enforcement Agent has classified speed as a Schedule II stimulant. It is only available legally by prescription, and has much potential for abuse. In the U.S., it has been used to treat ADHD on a very limited basis due to its addictive properties. Moreover, the brand name Desoxyn (or generic) can be prescribed, but generally in doses much lower than when taken illegally.
Speed is quite inexpensive and easy to make, or “cook”. There are very large superlabs cooking meth, and many smaller enterprises as well. Meth labs are prone to explosion due to the great fire risk due to the chemicals involved, such as red phosphorus.
What is Speed? – Common Methods of Consumption
Common urban slang for speed including chalk, ice, glass, meth, crank, crystal meth, fire, and crypto.
Speed can be consumed orally, injected, snorted, or smoked. Crystal meth is a very well-known type of speed, and presents as crystals which resemble ice. Crystal meth is often smoked, not dissimilar to crack cocaine.
What is Speed?- Desired Effects
All methods of consuming speed involve a “rush” sensation which is described as feeling euphoria or great pleasure. Smoking and IV use elicit this reaction immediately, while snorting and oral ingestion take a bit longer.
Additional Effects Include a general sense of well-being, increased concentration, activity, wakefulness, talkativeness, and alertness. Also, increased sexual desire and decreased appetite are common.
As with most illicit drugs, tolerance builds over time, and eventually the user will have to ingest more and more of the drug to maintain the effects. It’s not uncommon for persons addicted to speed to go several days without food or sleep while high.
What is Speed? How Does it Work?
Like cocaine, speed hinders the re-uptake of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. This means that more dopamine is available for the brain to use, and dopamine is responsible for mood enhancement. Also like cocaine, it has stimulating effects which include hyperactivity. However, it does take longer for effects to set in, and effects are generally much longer in duration.
Possible Side Effects
- Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
- Elevated body temperature
- Increased respiratory rate
Additionally, speed can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain, which may result in stroke. Speed-related death is often a result of hyperthermia or cardiovascular collapse.
Chronic, frequent users may engage in violent behavior, and suffer from hallucinations and psychosis not unlike schizophrenia. Indeed, cessation of speed use may not mean the end of these episodes – they can last for years after the abuse has ended.
Finally, speed use can cause damage to brain cells so they are unable to produce the appropriate amount of dopamine. The result may be a serious movement disorder, such as Parkingson’s Disease.
Additional effects associated with speed include rotting teeth, serious memory loss, and malnutrition.
Depression, anxiety, fatigue, and cravings are the likely result of quick cessation of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms such as these make it very difficult to quit speed, although they aren’t likely to be life-threatening.
The most common treatment for speed abuse is cognitive behavioral therapy. in addition, support group engagement is advised along with family counseling.
Currently there is no prescription medication indicated for speed abuse itself, although some medications may treat other symptoms of the abuse, such as relief for anxiety or depression.
If you or someone you know is an addict, please seek help immediately.