What are the risks?
- Depending on how much you’ve taken, it can be difficult to relax or sleep.
- ATS can also reduce your appetite so that you don’t eat enough and regular users can become malnourished.
- The comedown, which can last a few days, can make you feel really lethargic and down, and you can have difficulty concentrating and learning.
- They can put a strain on your heart, so ATS are definitely not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition.
- Some users have had difficulty breathing
- Some have died from overdoses.
- Taking a lot of ATS can give your immune system a battering – so you could get more colds, flu and sore throats,
- ATS can make you feel anxious, irritable, aggressive, paranoid and depressed; and cause short term mental illnesses and even psychotic episodes.
- Injecting an ATS is particularly dangerous - it's much easier to overdose when injecting and ATS can be cut with other substances
- Injecting itself 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.
- Mixing ATS with alcohol can be very dangerous – the stimulant effects of the ATS and depressant effects of alcohol can interact unpredictably, which can increase the risk of harm or even death.
How pure are ATS?
It’s not unusual for drugs to have things added to them to increase the weight and the dealer’s profits. These can include things like caffeine, ephedrine, sugars (like glucose), starch powder, laxatives, talcum powder, paracetamol, other cheaper stimulant type drugs
Some impurities are added by mistake - it is not uncommon for impurities to be formed during the manufacturing process for an ATS.
Can you get addicted to ATS?
ATS appear to be addictive and you can develop a strong psychological dependence (a strong desire or tendency to keep on using despite the risks and harms). For some ATS that have been in widespread use only recently (e.g. MPA), it’s too early to have good evidence on the level of dependence yet.
The more you take, the more you tend to want to take; and you can build up a tolerance, which means that you need to take higher doses just to get the same buzz or just to feel 'normal'.
If you’re using ATS regularly, you might end up needing to take more and more to avoid unpleasant withdrawals. Some ATS can be extremely addictive and harmful.