In 2022 at Drug Foundation drug checking clinics, speed was the substance most likely to be a different drug or to be mixed with other drugs.

This page is about amphetamine sulfate (also known as speed). For more info on prescription amphetamines, head to our prescription stimulants page.

Key things to know

Getting your speed checked can help you find out what’s really in it

Drug checking info

If snorting, use clean straws and surfaces and flush your nose with a saline rinse

Safer using

How does amphetamine (speed) make you feel? 

Like many drugs in the stimulant family, amphetamine can make you feel hyperactive, paranoid, euphoric and agitated. Depending on how much you use, and how you use it, the effects of amphetamine can last 3-8 hours. Remember, a low dose for one person can be a high dose for another person, as peoples bodies process drugs differently.  

Keep in mind that when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, amphetamine can have different effects to those listed.  

One person describes their experience with speed:

On speed you always feel like you're not hungry, doesn't matter how long it was since your last meal. You sweat more so drink more! Also the lack of sleep can really fuck you up in the long run. 

Pleasant effects Unpleasant effects
Feeling alert or energised Feeling hyperactive
Feeling excited, confident or euphoric Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite Feeling sweaty or hot
Stimulated or motivated to do things (e.g. clean the house, dance) Teeth grinding
Body high or body tingling   Agitation or anxiety
  Trouble sleeping
  Frequent peeing or trouble peeing
  Dry mouth 
Pleasant effects Unpleasant effects
Hyperactivity Making risky decisions or judgements
Increased euphoria Irregular or fast heartbeat
Ability to stay awake for longer periods of time Anxiety or paranoia
Memory enhancement  Aggressive
  Sore stomach, nausea or vomiting
  Increased trouble peeing
  Jaw clenching/sore jaw
  Tingling, pain or pins and needles in parts of the body
  Erectile dysfuntion
  Urge to take more amphetamine
  Racing or upsetting thoughts
  Loss of understanding of time
  Increased difficulty sleeping  


Pleasant Unpleasant
Intense hyperactivity or hyper-focus Making dangerous decisions or judgements
Intense euphoria Chest pains
Intense body high Increased vomiting
Ego inflation Severe anxiety or paranoia
  Having serious disturbances in mental abilities (delirium)
  Acting violently or aggressively
  Losing consciousness
  Loss of feeling in hands, feet, toes or fingers
  Severe dehydration 


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How much amphetamine do people usually take?

There are no publicly available tests to measure how strong your drugs are, so often people start low and go slow.

This information is not a recommended dosage amount. It can't take account of your specific circumstances. Drugs affect everybody differently, depending on things like your body size, any other drugs you’ve taken, what you have eaten, where you are, and how you're feeling. Find out more under the safer using section. 

Remember, drug checking can tell you what is in your drugs, but can’t tell you how strong they are.  

The information below is from other websites about how much people commonly use overseas. It is not a recommendation and typical usage in Aotearoa may be different.

How much amphetamine do people usually take - swallowed (from

Light 5 - 10mg
Common 10 - 25mg
Strong 25 - 50mg
Heavy 50mg+

How much amphetamine do people usually take - snorted or injected into a vein (from

Light 6 - 15mg
Common 15 - 30mg
Strong 30 - 50mg
Heavy 50mg+

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How can you be safer when using amphetamine (speed)?

Consider swallowing amphetamine (speed) and waiting an hour before redosing. Swallowing amphetamine in a capsule or a drink can help avoid some of the risks of other ways of using (such as snorting or injecting). Remember that swallowing amphetamine means it will take longer for the effects to kick in - so it is a good idea to wait at least 1 hour before redosing (taking more).  

Measure out your doses and only keep with you what you plan to take.
Using speed can make you want to take more, so it is a good idea to measure out how much you plan on taking across the night and leave the rest at home. This will stop you from compulsively redosing and accidentally using too much. 

Remember, amphetamine has a much lower ‘common’ dose than many other stimulants such as cocaine or MDMA. Research our your dose(s) before deciding how much to use.   

Get your drugs checked.
In 2022 drug checking clinics, amphetamine was the substance the Drug Foundation found was most likely to be something completely different or mixed with other substances. Bring your amphetamine into a drug checking clinic to find out what is actually in it, and how to be safer.  

Take care if snorting speed.
Much of the amphetamine in New Zealand contains other binders and fillers, such as caffeine. Some people report snorting amphetamine to be painful - this can be made worse if there are fillers or binders that can get stuck in your nasal passage. Consider taking long breaks between snorting and do a nasal rinse afterwards. Snorting amphetamine regularly can cause damage to your nasal passage.  

Some people report that taking amphetamine sublingually (under the tongue) has a similar onset to snorting, avoiding some of the unpleasant feelings in your nose.  

One Bluelight commenter says:

“I just take a tiny amount of amphetamine, put it in a tissue/toilet paper (to avoid contact with the teeth) and squeeze it tight. Then I throw it under my tongue for about 20 minutes and am amazed - how can such a meager amount act so long and intensely?”

Avoid mixing speed with alcohol, other drugs or medicines.
When used with alcohol, other drugs or medicines the effects of amphetamine can be very different to when it is used alone. Mixing amphetamine with other stimulants, such as cocaine, NBOMe, methamphetamine or prescription stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin can increase the strain felt on the body. This can put you at greater risk of overamping and having seizures, or heart attacks. Mixing amphetamine with depressants such as alcohol or GHB can mask the effects of these drugs, meaning you may take a higher dose. When the stimulant effects of amphetamine wear off,  you may be at greater risk of overdose from the depressant drug.  

Mixing amphetamine with dissociatve drugs such as ketamine, MXE or PCP has been known to increase the risk of heart issues, psychosis and manic states.  

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What happens if you have too much amphetamine (speed)?

When you take too much of a stimulant drug, it can speed up your bodies functions too much, and you can experience ‘overamping’. You might feel anxious or paranoid, irritable, nauseous, shakey or jittery. You might also feel sweaty, hot, or that your heart is beating faster than usual.  


  • Focus on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths. 
  • If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm. 
  • Do not take more speed, caffeine, alcohol or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse. 
  • Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing. 
  • Drink water to stay hydrated. 

If you have more severe symptoms, like worsening mental health, hallucinations, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, numbness on one side of your body or a fever, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116). You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs. 

Psychosis, trouble breathing, numbessnes on one side of the body, a very high fever, seizures and losing consciousness are a medical emergency. Call 111. 

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What do comedowns from amphetamine (speed) feel like, and how can you feel better?

If you're coming down from amphetamine, you may: feel tired, have trouble concentrating or thinking, get cravings, have aches and pains, experience mood swings or feel anxious or irritable, have memory problems or have difficulty sleeping. Some people refer to the initial part of the amphetamine comedown as a ‘crash’. 

You can try… 

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep. 
  • Remember to eat and drink plenty of water. 
  • Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals. 
  • Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support. 
  • Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well. 
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs. 
  • Practise mindfulness and deep breathing, and try writing down your thoughts and feelings. 

If any of these symptoms intensify or don't go away then call a doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116. They can talk you through the next steps. 

If your symptoms worsen or you are with somebody who: 

  • Has trouble breathing 
  • Has severe chest pain 
  • Experiences psychosis 
  • Acts violently 
  • Has suicidal thoughts 
  • Has a seizure 
  • Loses consciousness 

Call 111. These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly. 

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What are the long-term effects of using amphetamine (speed)?

Long term amphetamine use can cause changes to your brain.  It can impact your impulse control, memory, concentration and sleep. For some people, it can also increase anxiety, depression or low mood or make you more easily agitated. Some of these effects can fade when you stop using amphetamine, but some effects can be permanent. Some people who use amphetamine daily may find it very hard to concentrate or focus when they take a break from using.  

Amphetamine use over a long period of time can cause damage to your heart, particularly a condition called  cardiomyopathy. It can also increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  

The more amphetamine you use and the more often you use, the more likely you are to experience serious long-term effects. 

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How do you manage withdrawal from amphetamine (speed)?

See the Making Changes page for more information on how to manage withdrawal from drugs. 

Amphetamine can be an addictive drug, which can sometimes make it diffuclt to cut down or stop using. 

The initial comedown phase is sometimes called a ‘crash’ and can start as soon as amphetamine effects wear off.  The more intense withdrawal symptoms usually last for a few days, but these effects can persist for several days to weeks. How severe withdrawal symptoms are can depend on how much you used, how long you used for and your individual body.  

You might: 

  • feel tired, hungry, sweaty or nauseous 
  • feel anxious, irritable, confused, jittery or down 
  • have nightmares 
  • get stomach aches 
  • have cravings to use amphetamine  
  • have trouble concentrating  

You can try: 

  • Consider counselling or support groups if feelings of anxiety and depression are getting worse. 
  • Lean on a support network of friends, family and professionals. 
  • Stick to a routine – waking up, eating well, keeping active and rewarding yourself with things that bring you joy. 
  • Practise mindfulness by writing down your feelings, doing breathing exercises or meditating. 

If you experience severe cravings, have a fever, have violent or suicidal thoughts, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116). 

Your doctor may be able to help with support around withdrawal or provide info about rehab or withdrawal clinics in your area – visit Health Point to see what services are available. 

Psychosis, seizures, violence and suicide attempts need urgent medical care. Call 111. 

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How can speed affect your daily activities? 

Even at low doses, amphetamine can affect your everyday activities. At a single dose, the effects of amphetamine can last about 3-8 hours.  

Amphetamine can cause unpredictable behaviour, racing thoughts, anxiety and physical symptoms like sweating, shaking and nausea. It is unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery while using amphetamine. These drugs can cause personality changes, mood swings and hyperactive behaviour, which could make it difficult to interact with others. 

If you take amphetamine (speed), will it show up on a drug test? 

Amphetamine may be tested for in hair, urine, saliva (spit) or blood. The timeframe in which amphetamine can be detected on a drug test may vary depending on how much you have taken, and how long you have used for.  

Generally amphetamine can be detected in urine for up to 7 days, 1-2 days in saliva, about 12 hours in blood and up to 90 days in urine.  

Some medications can cause false positives for amphetamines on drug tests, including pseudoephedrine (in some cold and flu products) and some ADHD medicines like Adderall.

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Is amphetamine (speed) illegal?

Ampehtamine is considered a Class B controlled drug in New Zealand. This means that possessing, buying, selling, making or giving amphetamine to others is against the law.  

You can also get into trouble with the law if you are found to be impaired by amphetamine while driving.  

To find out more about the law around legal and controlled drugs, including 2C drugs see our Drugs and the Law page. 

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