Amphetamines are in a drug class known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. They include amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine. Amphetamines will usually stay in a person’s system for between 2-5 days.
They are most often prescribed for the treatment of ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, and occasionally obesity. Of note, different amphetamines remain in the body for various lengths of time. Most amphetamines are Schedule II substances in the U.S. because they are considered to have legitimate medical applications but a high potential for abuse and addiction.
Amphetamine use can be detected using tests that sample blood, hair, urine, or saliva. Standard drug screens, such as those involving urine, can identify exposure to amphetamines for up to four days. Hair tests can identify amphetamine use for up to 90 days.
Specifically, amphetamine and methamphetamine are both detectable for up to 72 hours. Methylenedioxyamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine are usually only detectable for 48 hours.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications may test positive for amphetamines. False positives are also possible in those who us antihistamines, nasal inhalers, cough and cold formulas, and some drugs intended to treat depression.
Drug Testing for Amphetamine
Urine Tests – Amphetamines can be detected in urine for up to 72 hours after consumption, depending on urine pH and other individual factors. Frequent amphetamine users may test positive in their urine for as long as four days following the last dose.
Blood Tests – Methamphetamine will stay in plasma for 4-6 hours. Levels of amphetamine in the blood range between 0.02-0.05 mg/L and, occasionally, up to 0.2 mg/L when used in therapeutic amounts. Concentrations above 0.2 mg/L are a sign of amphetamine misuse, and those higher than 2.5 mg/L can result in overdose, which is life-threatening.
Hair Tests – Depending on hair length, amphetamines can be detected for up to 90 days after the last use. Hair tests are among the most reliable methods for identifying prior use, although they cannot reveal recent or occasional drug use. Drugs travel from the bloodstream to hair follicles and can be identified for about 7-10 days after consumption. Hair structure, growth rate, melanin content, and cosmetic hair treatments may have an effect on the levels of drugs in hair.
Saliva Tests – Saliva tests using a swab or pad can detect exposure to amphetamines from 24-48 hours after the last dose. These tests can also determine same-day use in some cases.
Effects of Amphetamines on the Body
Amphetamines activate neurochemicals in the CNS and work to improve concentration and alertness. Compared to the brief effects of cocaine, which similarly impact the body, the effects of amphetamines can persist for several hours after consumption. Additionally, mixing amphetamines with alcohol and/or other drugs amplifies these effects. Furthermore, amphetamines act on the body rapidly after being ingested.
Side Effects of Amphetamines
The speed and intensity of amphetamine effects are closely related to the route of administration. Oral ingestion can take up to 20 minutes to induce effects, but snorting can lead to effects that begin within 5 minutes. Like other drugs, using amphetamines intravenously can produce near-immediate effects.
Methamphetamine (meth) converts to amphetamine in the body and has been associated with symptoms such as agitation, aggression, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Abuse of this drug can lead to a myriad of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, convulsions, and extensive tooth decay.
Abuse of amphetamines also can lead to overdose, which may include the following symptoms:
- Aggressiveness and violence
- Psychotic delusions
- Accelerated heart rate
- Severe agitation
An overdose of amphetamines is not usually lethal, but it can be. Amphetamine misuse is often followed by a prolonged period of fatigue and sleepiness. Abuse can also result in emotional symptoms of withdrawal, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
If you are abusing amphetamines or other substances, we urge you to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Failure to pass a drug screen at work or for legal purposes can result in unemployment, arrest, or incarceration. Furthermore, drug abuse can result in other adverse consequences, such as family conflict, financial issues, and an array of health complications, including lethal overdose.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer detox services and comprehensive, individualized treatment programs that feature services and therapeutic activities essential for the recovery process, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- Peer support groups
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Life skills training
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to amphetamines or other substances, please contact us as soon as possible! We pledge to help those who need it most to break free from addiction and reclaim the fulfilling and healthy life they deserve!