Amphetamines: Chemical | Organic composition

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 4:55 am

All amphetamines are synthetic, or manufactured, substances derived from alpha-methyl-beta-phenyl-ethyl-amine, a colorless liquid consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. In terms of their chemical structures, amphetamines are related to two natural substances known to boost energy within the human body. Those substances are ephedrine and adrenaline. Ephedrine is a natural stimulant found in plants of the genus Ephedra. It is the active ingredient in the Chinese herbal drug ma huang. Adrenaline is the body’s “fight or flight” hormone.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, laevoamphetamine, and methampheta-mine (MAP) are all referred to as amphetamines because their chemical properties and actions are “so similar” that “even experienced users have difficulty knowing which drug they have taken.” Consequently, it doesn’t matter what an amphetamine pill or capsule is called. The only difference between amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, for instance, is a few molecules of dextrose, a type of sugar.

The composition of amphetamine or dexamphetamine pills or capsules actually is a combination of the various types of amphetamine “salts.” For instance, the 5 mg amphetamine tablet known as Adderall contains 1.25 mg of dextroamphetamine saccharate, 1.25 mg of amphetamine aspartate, 1.25 mg of dextroamphetamine sulfate, and 1.25 mg of amphetamine sulfate.

 

Amphetamine Combinations

Streetname – Drug combination

Aimies – Amphetamine + amyl nitrite

Beans or Chalk – Amphetamine + crack cocaine

Bombido – Amphetamine + heroin

Amp – Amphetamine + marijuana clipped in formaldehyde

Chocolate – Amphetamine + marijuana + opium

Hammerheacling – Amphetamine + Ecstasy + Viagra

H-Bomb – Amphetamine + heroin + Ecstasy

Hippieflip – Amphetamine + mushrooms

Purple hearts – Amphetamine + LSD + depressants

 

Methamphetamine is composed of the above named forms of amphetamine with the addition of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Many users consider MAP to have more of a “kick,” which is why many who abuse amphetamines prefer methamphetamine. The legal form of methamphetamine is the prescription pill Methedrine. Most illegal forms of MAP come from illegal laboratories. MAP is relatively easy to manufacture and does not require sophisticated equipment. Illicit production has occurred in home kitchens, trailers, recreational vehicles, and rural cabins. It is often converted to its water-soluble form, a salt-like substance. However, MAP manufacturing can be dangerous. Combined in the wrong ways, the chemicals used in the process can explode. Illegal “chemists” and innocent victims have been maimed and killed by explosions and resulting fires.

In an attempt to limit the illegal manufacture of MAP in the latter part of the twentieth century, many governments, including the U.S. government, passed laws limiting the sale of ephedrine. Those laws were ineffective because the illicit drug makers learned how to use a chemical called pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient found in many over-the-counter medicines used for colds, allergies, and the flu. Since it is readily available, the illegal drug makers have been able to continue to manufacture illicit MAP.

 

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