Stimulants are drugs such as crack, cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA/ecstasy. Stimulants increase your heart rate and body temperature and also place strain on organs such as your heart, liver and kidneys. Stimulates are often taken to make you more alert, wired and awake.
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Cocaine and crack are powerful central nervous system stimulants, which can either come in a powdered form (cocaine powder) or can be prepared to form rock crystals (crack cocaine).
Street names: coke, snow, flake and Charlie.
How it works: Cocaine and crack produce feelings of confidence, wellbeing and both physical and mental nimbleness, which peaks for around 5-15 minutes after use. Over time, taking the drug can lead to compulsive use or dependence. This drug interferes with out natural levels of central nervous system chemicals, dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline which are naturally released when we do something pleasurable. Crack/cocaine released large amounts of these chemicals leading to a rush, or high.
Amphetamine is a stimulant taken to make people feel alert or awake. The effects of amphetamine kick in within around 30 minutes of ingesting. Amphetamines can reduce your appetite but do not have any nutritional value – amphetamines are addictive and the more you take, the more tolerance you will build meaning you will need more of the substance to get the same buzz.
Amphetamines can be taken in a variety of ways, however the 3 main ingestion routes are either by ‘bombing’, which is when a user wraps the amphetamine in a cigarette paper and swallowing it, snorting it through the nasal canal, or by injecting intravenously.
Heavy use of amphetamine over a sustained period of time has been shown to cause mental illness such as psychosis and paranoia and can also cause a serious strain on the heart.
Also known as MDMA, XTC, E, Mandy, Rolex, cowies, crystal, dolphins
Ecstasy makes people feel lively, talkative, energetic and alert. It can make people feel more ‘at one’ their surroundings and make things like music and emotions seem more intense.
The risks of short-term use can include anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, paranoia and psychosis, and the physical effects can include faster heart rate, raised body temperature, dilated pupils and tingling feelings.
Users can feel depressed and lethargic after taking ecstasy and it can have long-term effects on your memory, as well as other effects including dehydration, and overheating, associated with use in dance clubs, and there are dangers from drinking too much in response to dehydration. If you are taking ecstasy then make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated. You may be at greater risk of having unprotected sex when you use ecstasy and it has also been shown to have effects on your liver, heart and kidneys.