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Amphetamines

Amphetamine test strip tape

Amphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance available by prescription (Dexedrine®) and is also available on the illicit market. Amphetamines are a class of potent sympathomimetic agents with therapeutic applications. They are chemically related to the human body’s natural catecholamines: epinephrine and norepinephrine. Acute higher doses lead to enhanced stimulation of the central nervous system and induce euphoria, alertness, reduced appetite, and a sense of increased energy and power. Cardiovascular responses to amphetamines include increased blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias. More acute responses produce anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic behavior. The effects of amphetamines generally last 2-4 hours following use, and the drug has a half-life of 4-24 hours in the body. About 30% of amphetamines are excreted in the urine in unchanged form, with the remainder as hydroxylated and deaminated derivatives.

The DrugCheck® Drug of Abuse Test yields a positive result when Amphetamines in urine exceed 1,000 ng/mL. This is the suggested screening cut-off for positive specimens set by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, USA). Additional cutoffs of the amphetamine urine test are available at 300 ng/mL and 500 ng/mL, both forensic use only.


Drug Abuse Recognition (DAR)

As a point of reference, the following objective symptoms: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, Lack of Convergence, Pulse, Romberg Stand, Pupil Size, and Pupillary Reaction To Light are determined during a DAR evaluation to identify drug influence and impairment. The following objective symptoms of someone under the influence of amphetamines may be used as a reference only, and should not be used to replace certified Drug Abuse Recognition Training.

Please contact Express Diagnostics if you would like more information on DAR-OS or drug abuse recognition training.

CNS stimulants: Amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamine

Horizontal Gaze NystagmusNot Present
Vertical Gaze NystagmusNot Present
Lack of ConvergenceNot Present
PulseFast
Romberg StandFast
Pupil SizeDilated*
Pupillary Reaction To LightSlow

* Long term stimulant users may have constricted pupils or normal size pupils that react slowly/minimally to light.

Source: Graves & Associates