Amphetamines are relatively common. This medication is available by prescription for children and teens who have ADD or ADHD. It can be obtained from someone who has a prescription, or bought illegally. Adderall, a type of upper, is readily available on college campuses to students who are looking for a way to stay up for long periods of time to study or complete coursework.
In the forty years up to 1979, there have been 79 recorded amphetamine overdose deaths world-wide, almost all of which were injecting users. Still, the combination of the physical rush and psychological boost remains a strong draw for many users, despite the danger the drug poses.
The danger comes from over-regular use and over-familiarity with amphetamines, as users become more dependent on the release of energy brought about by the drug and more uncomfortable with the body's natural energy levels at the same time. As a tolerance for the drug develops, the user needs to take a higher dose to achieve the same high they got when they started using.
Hazards with Recreational Use of Uppers
Paranoia and nervous tension are common after even mild recreational use. Using speed produces a euphoric effect that is similar to cocaine. Like that illegal drug, bennies can put a strain on the circulatory system by causing the user's blood pressure to increase suddenly.
Even occasional, light users can suffer depression and lasting fatigue after using the drug. It can be tempting to continue taking wake ups to keep the high going, but once the person eventually comes down, he or she will feel more tired and depressed.
Heavy users hit severe, sometimes suicidal lows, and can slump into deep sleeps lasting well over 24 hours. An individual with a well-established speed habit will probably be living with the effects of malnutrition, since this type of drug lowers the individual's appetite. Not eating properly and lack of sleep while using makes the individual more susceptible to any number of illnesses and can have a long-term effect on his or her overall health.
Mixing Wake Ups with Other Drugs
Drinking alcohol and taking uppers is not a good idea, since this combination of substances can lead to aggressive and violent acts. An individual who takes them while drinking may not realize how impaired he is -- a big problem if he decides to drive a car.
Speed and Driving
Driving a motor vehicle after taking bennies is bad. This type of drug affects the user's ability to judge distance and speed, both of which are important in driving. Not only that, but after taking beans, the user's coordination is affected. The person who decides to get behind the wheel after taking this type of drug could be a hazard to others, as well as to himself. Since the drug also tends to make the user feel confident and lower his threshold for risk-taking, driving under the influence of this drug is truly a dangerous proposition.
Dangers of Injecting Speed
Users who like the more immediate effect that using needles gives them when using speed need to understand that doing so puts them at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS from sharing needles. Hepatitis B and C are also real possibilities for those who choose to shoot up.
Using needles to inject speed, or other drugs like heroin for that matter, can also affect the individual's health in a different way. If the drug has been cut with a foreign substance (which is usually the case), these other ingredients can block off the blood vessels in the body. The blockage can result in organ damage. Another danger of using beans is inflamed blood vessels and abscesses.
Overdosing on Bennies
When using bennies, the risk of overdose is always present. There is no way to know how pure drugs bought on the street are, and even an experienced user who feels that they can handle the drugs is at risk. If too much speed is ingested, it can trigger an irregular heartbeat. In some cases, the user has a heart attack or a stroke, which has the potential for being fatal.
Consistent heavy use or a single large dose can induce amphetamine psychosis, which has symptoms almost identical to schizophrenia.
Vivid auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions are the real frighteners and, unlike hallucinogens, the "trip" cannot be turned around. This is a very real mental state caused by over-excitement of the brain's fright centers.
Its effects often start with curiosity, deep thought, and paranoia. Its slow buildup makes it all the more dangerous, as it is harder to recognize the symptoms.
Some users become obsessed and get into activities like, ironing or scrubbing floors through the night, or dismantling and reassembling electrical equipment.
While amphetamine psychosis is much more common among heavy regular users, there are real dangers that any small amount of speed used by a person with schizophrenic tendencies could push them over the edge.