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.