What is Overamping?

Overamping is the term we use to describe what one might consider an “overdose” on speed or cocaine. Overamping means a lot of things to a lot of people. Sometimes it is physical, when our bodies don’t feel right. Other times it is psychological, like paranoia, anxiety or psychosis—or a mixture of the two. It’s complicated because sometimes one person will consider something overamping, and the other person actually considers it just part of the high, or maybe even enjoys a feeling that someone else hates.

Is overamping an overdose?

Most of the time, when we hear the word overdose, we think of heroin, someone in a heavy nod, turning blue, not breathing. A lot of times people say “you can’t overdose on speed or coke,” but then other people say, “I don’t know, I’ve passed out, or felt like I was gonna have a heart attack…is that an overdose?”  The problem is actually with the word itself. “Overdose” isn’t really the best word to describe what happens when tweak or coke turn bad…so we call it overamping.

What causes overamping?

Overamping can happen for a lot of different reasons. Another reason we’re not satisfied with the term “overdose” for speed or coke situations is because it implies that taking too much is the problem. With speed or coke (unlike some drugs like heroin) it is much more unpredictable; overamping might happen regardless of how much or little you use, or how long you’ve been using. It might happen on the 3rd day of a run when your body is getting run down, or when you get high with some people that make you feel weird.

Some things that may lead to overamping include:

  • You’ve been up for too long (sleep deprivation).
  • Your body is worn down from not eating or drinking enough water.
  • You’re in a weird or uncomfortable environment or with people that are sketching you out.
  • You did “that one hit too many.”
  • You mixed some other drugs with your speed that have sent you into a bad place.

No matter what the reason, it can be dangerous and scary to feel overamped.

Overamping and Cocaine

There hasn’t really been a term like “overamping” to describe an overdose on cocaine (powder) or crack. With coke, what happens is often similar to the physical and psychological effects of overamping on speed, but coke is much more likely to cause seizures, heart attacks and strokes. In a recent study of heart damage in cocaine users, 83% had heart damage, and 73% had scarring on their heart (fibrosis) from silent heart attacks. Cocaine is the second most common drug that causes overdose deaths in the US (after prescription opioids, which cause the most deaths, and more than heroin, which is the third most common drug in overdose deaths).

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