Amphetamine Evaluation 2021

Amphetamine belongs to the group of stimulants and is classified as a phenethylamine. The term speed is usually understood to mean a mixture of caffeine and amphetamine.
In total, 174 samples declared as amphetamine were handed in for analysis at the Drug Information Centre (DIZ) in Zurich in 2021. During mobile drug checking missions carried out in the city of Zurich in 2021, 26 amphetamine samples were handed in and analysed. The results published here are not representative for the entire substance market of the city of Zurich.
In 2021, the average amphetamine content of the samples analysed by the DIZ was 63 %. Compared to the previous year, this content increased by 3.4 %. The amphetamine content of the samples analysed varied greatly and was between 1.5 % and 100 %.
In 2021, 72 % of the amphetamine samples submitted contained at least one pharmacologically active extender (such as also caffeine), one or more synthetic impurities or contamination (smear contamination in minigrips already used with other substances).
In 2021, 31.5 % of all samples contained at least one synthetic impurity. Synthetic impurities result from improper production and/or insufficient purification of amphetamine in the production laboratory. Whether and at what dosages synthetic impurities are effective and/or harmful to health is unknown. In principle, it must always be assumed that there is a risk.
Caffeine was analysed in 48.5 % of amphetamine samples in 2021 and thus remains the most commonly used extender. On average, 55.1 % caffeine was contained in the caffeine-stretched samples. It is important to mention that the effect of caffeine in amphetamine samples is desired by many users, as the pure amphetamine effect is often perceived as too subtle and too long-acting.
In addition, very small amounts of ketamine, cocaine, MDMA and phenylacetone were analysed in 5.5 % of the amphetamine samples in 2021. This is probably due to unintentional impurities.

Conclusion 2021

- The amphetamine content of the samples handed in at the DIZ has been relatively constant between 50 % and 60 % since 2018. However, it is striking that in the same period, up to 50 % of the samples handed in are extremely potent with an amphetamine content of over 80 to even 100 %. These extreme fluctuations can pose a considerable risk to users.
- Contrary to the widespread opinion among users, pastes (liquid/moist samples that have to be dried) do not indicate a particularly high quality of amphetamine. This frequently sold form serves to maximise profits.
- The most frequently detected unexpected psychoactive substances in amphetamine samples are still caffeine and synthesis by-products. It should be noted that many amphetamine users are used to the fast-onset and strong effect of caffeine and often declare a sample mixed with caffeine to be "very strong" before analysis. Thus, there is a risk that users overdose when using pure amphetamine due to the more subtle and later onset effect of amphetamine.
- Synthesis by-products are present in about one third of amphetamine samples bought on the black market in 2021.

More information and details can be found in the detailed report below. In addition, the most important information is summarised compactly on a graphic.


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