Amphetamine Sulphate (Speed, Whizz, Billy)

Amphetamine is generally found in its powder form- sulphate, and snorted like cocaine or injected, though it can be bought in tablet form as well. It increases the seratonin and dopamine levels in the brain, causing "rushes" and increasing the level of self confidence in a user in a similar way that alcohol can do.
Speed is the general term for any amphetamine based drug, which also includes dexedrine and desoxyn.
Speed was thought of as "poor man's cocaine". Unlike cocaine however, amphetamine can be synthesised by anyone with a knowledge of chemistry, as the ingredients are not as difficult as coca to obtain. Since the renaissance of cocaine's popularity in recent years, as well as the rise of other stimulants such as crystal meth and mephedrone, speed in its sulphate form seems to have become much rarer at street level. As its nickname suggests, it is a stimulant and gives the user excessive energy and causing hyperactivity, making the user very wearing to be around. 
Speed was particularly popular amongst young people in the early 60s. The Beatles are reported to have used it regularly in their Hamburg days to keep them going through the all night performances that they were contracted for. During the mods and rockers era, speed pills of various types were widely used by the two groups. It has been a mainstay of youth subculture for many years. It has also been and continues to be used by militaries across the world. During World War Two, bomber pilots were given speed to keep them awake on long missions and methedrine was used by British fighter pilots to such an extent that one report famously stated that "methedrine won the Battle of Britain". Street gangs and football hooligans also used the drug regularly to enhance their fighting ability. Before its recreational use as a club drug, the main reason for its use was for staying awake. Workers on night shifts and long distance lorry drivers in the past were regular users. It is well known to increase concentration and has been used by students as a study aid. Aside from its status in law, it is widely banned in sporting competitions as a performance enhancing drug, and athletes are regularly tested for it. Doctors believe however, that physical exercise combined with amphetamines puts a life threatening strain on the heart. It is used as an aid to losing weight by many people, as it suppresses the appetite while increasing energy levels which heighten the body's metabolism.

Speed in its sulphate form is usually cut with glucose, although other more sinister powders are common too, and dental problems are common amongst speed users that take the drug orally. Bruxism (the grinding of teeth) is common, contributing to this. Other side effects include diarrhoea, constipation, aggression and paranoia. The comedown from speed causes extreme fatigue, and users say that their dreams become extremely vivid. 
It is possible to overdose on amphetamine, though it is unusual for it to be fatal unless the user has cardiovascular problems for example.  It is known to cause mental problems and paranoid delusions among users, though these are not thought to be permanent problems. Aching muscles are common amongst users of any stimulant, as the result of over-exertion.
As tolerance builds up quickly, regular users need to constantly build up their dose to achieve the same results, leading to dependence and addiction, in proportion to the rising cost of the user's habit.

Crystal Methamphetamine (Ice)

Popular as a club and party drug, true crystal meth looks like broken glass. It is related to speed, though users claim the rush and euphoria are infinitely more intense. There are different forms of methamphetamine, which are all psychoactive, but are marketed at different stages of the production process, hence the differences in colour, effect and purity. Yellowish or brown forms tend to be regularly found but most commonly is the clear crystal form.
Medically it has been used to treat ADHD in both children and adults. In the past it was also used as an appetite suppressant in the treatment of obesity although since its addictive potential was discovered, this is no longer the case. It is also rumoured that Hitler was administered methamphetamine by his physician to counter the effects of suspected Parkinson's Disease. However, there is no concrete evidence for this.
Like traditional speed, it increases concentration and causes hyperactive effects as well as intense rushes, heightened self confidence and invincibility as well as an increase in libido. These effects are more intense than traditional amphetamines.
It is most commonly smoked in glass pipes like crack, which are often improvised from light bulbs, or chased off foil like heroin. Other methods of use are by injecting, snorting, orally (which doesn't give the rush associated with other ways of taking the drug), and occasionally by suppository, though this is rare.
Amphetamine and methamphetamine are usually sythesised, but recent studies have discovered that both substances occur naturally in acacia trees, as does mescaline and nicotine.Like amphetamine sulphate, methamphetamine is easy to synthesise to anyone with a knowledge of chemistry, making it available worldwide. As highly flammable and volatile chemicals are used in the process, many crystal meth labs have been discovered as a result of fires. Highly toxic gases are by-products of the process of synthesis, causing yet more risk to the manufacturer. Many users are prone to psychological problems similar to schizophenia that can become long term, as well as dental problems (meth mouth), cardiovascular disorders and risks of heart attack or strokeLong term methamphetamine usage has been strongly linked to depression and suicidal tendencies. Because long term use can increase paranoia, users may become aggressive or violent. Bruxism is common and users often find themselves feeling edgy and twitchy.
Tolerance to methamphetamine builds up at different rates depending on the user, but the drug is highly addictive, both mentally and physically. Like heroin, the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, but will not physically harm the user. It will, however, increase the depression aspect, and medical reports claim that the depression associated with methamphetamine withdrawal is more severe than that of cocaine withdrawal. The intensity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms differ to the amount and regularity of use.

Ketamine (Special K)

Ketamine is primarily a horse tranquiliser, used in conjuction with other anaesthetics in veterinary medicine. It has also been used as an anaesthetic in humans, and also as an anti-depressant in psychiatric medicine. Medically it is used intravenously, but as a recreational drug, its most common form is powdered or liquid. In the past it has been sold as a tablet. Because of this, it was often mistaken for, and/or sold as ecstacy. Indeed, a lot of ecstacy on the market often contains some ketamine. 
Ketamine was first synthesised in the early 1960's, but it became popular as a recreational drug during the rave culture of the late 80's and early 90's. Since then it has been outlawed in many countries, including the UK, USA and Canada.
In its powder form it is usually snorted or eaten, which can produce a laxative effect. It can also be injected. Generally its effects last between one to two hours. Users report out of body experiences, hallucinations and increased energy, though others report numbness and drowsiness. Like all drugs, the users environment will influence the experience, and with ketamine being a club drug, chances are that the user will feel like dancing. The intensity of the effects tend to vary depending on the amount taken. Often users will mix the drug with cocaine to counter its sedative effects. Users often experience what is known as the "K hole", which is when a user is absorbed so much in the experience that the real world is completely disassociated from them. This takes a high dosage to result in this effect.
Ketamine is known to enhance the effects of alcohol and other sedatives such as vallium and barbiturates, therefore increasing the risk of overdose. 
Long term use has been linked to memory lapses in users, and it is known to affect the urinary tract, resulting in cystitis. Users may also experience severe stomach cramps.
While the dangers of ketamine are widely disputed, it is worth knowing that two of its champions, Marcia Moore and DM Turner, who wrote extensively about their experiences, both died prematurely as a direct result of ketamine abuse-Turner drowning in his bath after injecting the drug and being unable to move, and Moore of hypothermia after passing out in the woods after injecting ketamine. These are only two stories out of thousands that have used the drug with no ill effect, but it highlights the fact that if one is going to use these type of drugs recreationally, it is preferable to be in a social situation rather than alone as there is no way to predict what may happen. As we have previously pointed out, the environment of the user is all important.

Mephadrone (Mcat, Meow Meow, drone) 

Mephadrone is a stimulant related to amphetamine that was first synthesised as long ago as 1929. It has only become popular in the early 21st century within the dance culture due to the impure varieties of drugs such as ecstacy that hit the scene due to prohibition driving it underground. The same prohibitive laws have now been applied to mephedrone, which has resulted in the price doubling. It won't be long before the purity of the drug is affected, which will lead to further dangers on top of those associated with the drug alone. This is the result of media propaganda and misinformation. In fact, the term "meow meow" wasn't known before the popular press first coined the name.
Ironically, widespread use of mephedrone came about because of the laws which criminalise other substances that were popular within the club and rave scene, as well as the lack of purity of ecstacy and cocaine.
Its effects are said to be similar to both cocaine and MDMA, and like amphetamine, it is relatively easy and cheap to synthesise. These effects include intense rushes, heightened musical appreciation, increased energy and euphoria which last for around one to three hours, depending on the amount ingested and the method of use. This evidence is mainly anecdotal however, as there are no formal research results, and as the drug, despite being around for nearly a century, has only been popular in the last few years, meaning its long term effects can only be speculated upon. 
One side effect that is certain is bruxism, the grinding of teeth, also associated with other stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine and ecstacy. It is claimed that it affects concentration and short term memory, and has been linked to paranoia and depression. Increased heart rate is common, but there is no evidence that it has any effect mentally.
As mephedrone is a stimulant, it is known to cause dehydration, and doctors recommend the user drinks water at regular intervals while intoxicated and avoids using alcohol or any other drug in conjuction with it.
Several deaths due to mephedrone have been reported in the media, however there is no medical evidence that the drug was the direct cause of this in every case. It has been proven to be the cause of a small number however, but as it is a relatively new drug, one can only speculate as to the full dangers of it. It is believed to be less addictive than cocaine, while at the same time carrying the same risks. As the drug is a stimulant, it is not recommended for those with heart conditions. It is worth pointing out however, that the number of alleged deaths that have been linked to mephedrone are a tiny fraction of the number of deaths that are proven to be a direct result of alcohol.