Mods, Punks and Dexy's
e's and whizz
In the 1960s teenagers and more specifically mods enjoyed Dexedrine (dexies / dexy's midnight runners), Durophet (blackbombers) and Drinamyl (Purple Hearts after their blue and triangular shape) which combined amphetamine and barbiturate in one pill.
Needless to say, society was not pleased by these reckless drug-addled teens, and by 1964 it was illegal to possess or import amphetamines. Manufacturing and prescription, however, were still okay. The Drinamyl Purple Heart was reshaped and renamed French Blues and continued to sell.
Recreational amphetamine use hit a peak in the seventies, driven mainly by three disparate subcultures. First by hippies, then by Northern Soul boys, who first used it as a dance drug, in the days before clubbing, to keep energised (and fighting) all night long. Then came the punks, who quickly found its directness, cheapness and hardness perfect for their needs.
After bowing out to cocaine
in the 80s, the Ecstasy boom brought speed back into fashion once again.
In the early 90s, the demand for E was high but the quality was low. Many clubbers switched to Speed. It suited them perfectly. The more you took E, the speedier it became. A few grams of speed could replace 10 E's for those who craved the buzz and the energy.
Today, amphetamine use is constant across all genres of dance music. While ecstasy
is rarely a feature of Drum And Bass, House, Garage, or Speed Garage scenes, speed is a staple of all three, alongside marijuana, cocaine, and champagne.
Speed is also prevalent in ecstasy-dominated scenes like Trance and Techno, as well as harder forms like Gabba and Industrial where E just isn't hard enough.
While speed is continually rated as more popular than E, users do not seem to 'love it' in the same way. It is often touted as a 'dirty' drug (due to its impurity) and as 'poorman's cocaine' due to its near-identical effects.
But a lot of clubbers would prefer a reliable speed hit than a disappointing E experience.