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What is speed?
Speed is the street name for the Class B drug amphetamine sulphate. Sometimes speed is used to refer to other types of amphetamines.  

Speed is a stimulant and people take ‘speed’ to keep them awake, energised and alert.




Other key effects and risks of taking speed are:

  • Feeling ‘up’,  excited and chatty.
  • People take it because it gives them the energy to do things for hours without getting tired, things like dancing, talking, and going out.
  • It can make people overactive, agitated or even acutely psychotic (this is a mental state when you see or hear things which aren't there and have delusions).
  • The high is generally followed by a long slow comedown, making you feel really irritable and depressed.
  • Speed puts a strain on your heart and can cause heart problems – some people have died from taking too much speed.

What does speed look like?
Speed is usually an off-white or pinkish powder and can sometimes look like small crystals. The ‘base’ form of speed is usually purer and is a pinkish-grey colour and feels like putty.

How do people take speed?
Speed is either dabbed onto the gums, or is snorted in lines (like cocaine powder). Sometimes it's rolled up in a cigarette paper and swallowed, this is called ‘bombing’. It can also be injected or mixed into drinks.

The effects of speed kick in within half an hour of swallowing. If you snort or inject speed it will kick in quicker –  the effects can last for up to six hours.


Injecting speed, and sharing injecting equipment, runs the risk of the injector catching or spreading a virus such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or a blood clot will develop.