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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066



What does Ephedrine look like?

White crystalline powder; Tablets 15mg, 30mg and 60mg.

Various forms of Ephedrine

Scientific Names

Ephedrine Hydrochloride, Ephedrine Sulphate

Generic Name


Effects Of Ephedrine

Desired Effects:

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.


Insomnia, loss of appetite, tension.



Anxiety, Paranoia, Tolerance, confusion, agitation & panic.


Stimulant Dependence, heart arrhythmias, heat attack, high increase in blood pressure, strokes, and damage to brain receptors.

Reducing Harm

Please view our Reducing Harm page for more information.

How does Ephedrine work?

Central nervous system Stimulant.

Legal status of Ephedrine

Ephedrine is not currently classified as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, so it is not illegal to possess or use in small amounts. Selling ephedrine as an unlicensed preparation would risk prosecution under the Medicines Act. Ephedrine-based products are currently being looked at with proposals to make them prescription-only medicines.

How Is Ephedrine Taken?

It is used as a slimming aid and also as a filler or 'Cut' in amphetamine and other products. It can be swallowed as a Tablet, snorted up the nose, dissolved in a drink, or injected.


If snorted - razor blade, hard level surface (such as a mirror or glass), tube or rolled banknote.

If injected: Syringe and Needle, water, Tourniquet.

Medical uses of Ephedrine

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

Where does it come from?

It is an Alkaloid derived from various plants in the Ephedra family. It 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

Most areas of the UK have ‘street agencies’ or projects (sometimes called community drug services or community drug teams) which offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, needle exchanges and sometimes support groups and complementary therapies such as acupuncture. The increase in stimulant use has led to some agencies offering specialist counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, acupuncture and other alternative therapies and prescribing of anti-depressants, and also possible referral to residential rehabilitation. Some services have extended working hours and may offer weekend support. GPs and possibly the local hospital A&E department can make referrals to specialist drug services as well as general medical services, information and advice often in partnership with a drug agency or Drug Dependency Unit.

Parents & other relatives

Many drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents, family members and partners of people using drugs. They may provide relative support groups or advice, guidance and counselling on a one to one basis.

You can view a list of National Drug Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Ephedrine problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234
Last updated: 31 December 2012