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How Drugs Work

Drugs and the Law

UK Laws

Drug Information

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Ephedrine

Ephedrine

Alcoholic Drinks

Common name

Ephedrine.

Generic name

Ephedrine.

Scientific name

Ephedrine.

Action

Central nervous system stimulant.

Drug form

White crystalline powder.

Medical use

In the treatment of bronchitis and asthma, allergic conditions such as hay-fever, and as a nasal decongestant.

Drug effects

Desired:

Ephedrine is often sold as, or mixed with, amphetamines or similar products such as ecstasy. Unwitting users would be looking for euphoria, alertness, confidence and energy.

Side-effects:

Insomnia, loss of appetite, tension.

Risks

Short-term:

anxiety, paranoia, tolerance.

Long-term:

psychosis, dependence.

Legal status

Ephedrine is not illegal to possess or supply. However, as ephedrine is used as a precursor drug in the production of methylamphetamine, pharmaceutical manufacturers may only supply to reputable companies.

How is it taken?

There is little overt demand for ephedrine on the illicit drug market, but it is used as a filler or 'cut' in amphetamine and other products. It can be swallowed, snorted up the nose, dissolved in a drink, or injected.

Paraphernalia

If snorted - razor blade, hard level surface (such as a mirror or glass), tube or rolled banknote.
If injected: syringe and needle, water, tourniquet.

Images

Razor blade
Rolled banknote.
Tourniquet.

Where does it come from?

This is a pharmaceutical drug which is sometimes diverted from legitimate manaufacture. It is also contained in over the counter products sold in pharmacies.

Helping services

Counselling agencies and drug dependency clinics will offer services to regular users.