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amphetamine (ămfĕtˈəmēn), any one of a group of drugs that are powerful central nervous system stimulants. Amphetamines have stimulating effects opposite to the effects of depressants such as alcohol, narcotics, and barbiturates. They raise the blood pressure by causing the body to release epinephrine, postpone the need for sleep, and can reverse, partially and temporarily, the effects of fatigue. Amphetamines enhance mental alertness and the ability to concentrate, and also cause wakefulness, euphoria, and talkativeness. Benzedrine is the trade name for the drug amphetamine; dextroamphetamine is marketed as Dexedrine. Methamphetamine, a potent stimulant marketed as Desoxyn, is the most rapidly acting amphetamine. They are available by prescription for limited uses; illegal sources include stolen or diverted supplies or clandestine laboratories.


Prescription amphetamines have been used for short periods of time in weight-control programs to suppress appetite and to treat narcolepsy. They were used as vasoconstrictors in inhalant therapy to shrink nasal mucous membranes in such conditions as nasal allergies and asthma; now such inhalants have been banned because of their toxicity. For unknown reasons, amphetamines have a paradoxically calming effect on some hyperactive children, but the use of these drugs to treat such children has been controversial.

Amphetamine Abuse

Popularly known as bennies, crank, speed, pep pills, wakeups, or uppers, amphetamines are addictive and easily abused: users can become psychologically dependent on the drugs and, developing a tolerance for them, can require increasingly large doses (see drug addiction and drug abuse). When the drugs wear off, a long period of sleep ensues, often followed by hunger and depression, which can lead to further use of amphetamines. Amphetamine addiction has been common among such diverse groups as truck drivers, students, and athletes, who have used the drugs for increased energy, alertness, or endurance. Methamphetamine, made from ephedrine and other chemicals in clandestine laboratories in the the United States or Mexico, experienced a resurgence in use in the United States beginning the mid-1990s, and its abuse also has increased worldwide. Amphetamines are inhaled, taken orally, or injected; as with other injected drugs, needle sharing increases the risk of contracting the AIDS virus. One form of methamphetamine, “ice,” is smoked. For law enforcement purposes in the United States, most amphetamines are grouped with such drugs as cocaine and morphine because of the similarity in their effects, medical usefulness, and high potential for abuse.

Side Effects

Amphetamines can produce severe systemic effects, including cardiac irregularities and gastric disturbances. Chronic use often results in insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability, and aggressive behavior. Addiction can result in psychosis or death from overexhaustion or cardiac arrest. Amphetamine-induced psychosis often mimics schizophrenia, with paranoia and hallucinations.
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C6H5CH2CHNHCH3 A volatile, colorless liquid used as a central nervous system stimulant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a synthetic colourless volatile liquid used medicinally as the white crystalline sulphate, mainly for its stimulant action on the central nervous system, although it also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It can have unpleasant or dangerous side effects and drug dependence can occur; 1-phenyl-2-aminopropane. Formula: C6H5CH2CH(NH2)CH3
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
An increasing number of studies in the 1950s and 1960s questioned the benefits and appreciated more of the risks of amphetamines. A concerned society witnessed crazed speed freaks engaging in violence, and even leaders of the counterculture like Frank Zappa spreading the word that speed kills.
"The nature of the psychoactive ingredients in such tablets is not always clear, but reports suggest that amphetamine trafficked from Southeast Europe is the main ingredient in Captagon tablets found in the consumer markets of the Middle East (notably Saudi Arabia), frequently alongside caffeine.
Precursor compounds to amphetamine and methamphetamine.
However, while the drop in production was "encouraging," the UNODC said the production of amphetamine-type stimulants, which include amphetamines, methamphetamines and ecstasy were on the rise.
In police interview, he said both had consumed a lot of drink and took amphetamine to suppress the effect of alcohol.
In our case, amphetamine reduced the quarter life, but the dopaminergic antagonists did not alter it.
Peter Carr, prosecuting, said officers who went to Ricketts home in December last year found various quantities of amphetamine in the defendant's kitchen and bedroom.
* As the scientists expected, the normal rats showed increased roaming when given toluene, amphetamine, or scopolamine.
(3) By ATS drug type, 5% had used amphetamine in the last year (90,000 people), 3% had used ecstasy in the last year (62,000), and 1% had used ice in the last year (16,000).
| Andrew Hayes, 48 and of Fincham Road, Dovecot, Merseyside, was found guilty of conspiracy to produce Class B (amphetamine) following trial and jailed for seven years.
Paul Marley, 43, of Calver Place, Glossop, Derbyshire and other OCG members were linked to this unit, as well as an address in Grenville Terrace, Ashton-Under-Lyne, from which Class A and B drugs (cocaine and amphetamine) were stored and distributed.
The post Greece seizes record amount of amphetamine Captagon shipped from Syria appeared first on Cyprus Mail .