Is it true that people are taking adderall to get high?

Prescription stimulants are being abused by high school students, college students, and young adults.

When we think of Adderall abuse, we may imagine students taking this prescription stimulant to stay up late and focus on their studies. While it is true that many students use this drug to attempt to enhance their school performance, many young people are using this habit-forming substance purely for recreational purposes. They are taking it simply to get high.

Getting high on the study buddy.

Adderall, known by many slang terms, including “study buddy”, is an amphetamine. This means that it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the central nervous system similar to other potent stimulants, including cocaine and crystal meth. Side effects include talkativeness, increased alertness, and wakefulness as well as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth and insomnia. While it is an effective treatment for medical conditions, such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and weight loss, it is frequently used recreationally, similarly to powdered cocaine. In fact, users often crush the tablets into a powder and then snort the crushed tablets.

The dangers of addiction to Adderall.

Similarly to stimulant street drugs, Adderall is highly addictive. When college students buy Adderall tablets from their friends with ADHD and a prescription, they may not be aware that they are setting themselves up for a lifelong addiction. Amphetamine addiction is a serious problem and very difficult to overcome. There is no easy way to get over the intense cravings for the drug that accompany withdrawal symptoms when the user runs out of Adderall. 

Adderall addiction and emergency room visits.

When a person develops an addiction to Adderall, they will have an obsession with the effects of the drug. Substance abuse progresses to the point where the user is taking far more than what is safely recommended as an upper limit dosage. Unfortunately, this leads to dangerous symptoms and side effects. While an ER patient presenting with chest pain due to Adderall abuse may simply be having a panic attack, it could also be a heart attack. Amphetamines strain the cardiovascular system and can cause serious and permanent physical damage, including damage to the heart valves , other heart-related problems, and stroke, which is permanent brain damage.

Adderall abuse and opioid use disorder.

There has been a focus in this country on opiate use. This is because of the deadly nature of misused opioids and the potential for deadly overdoses. However, we should not allow the opioid crisis to overshadow the ongoing issue of Adderall abuse. Often, patients will present with issues of both opioid and stimulant abuse. It is important to provide medication-assisted treatment for the opioid addiction and then provide proper therapy and support to help the patient overcome Adderall addiction as well. Having the support of family members can make a difference. It is important for families to support family members who have mental health issues.

Should Adderall be illegal?

You may wonder why Adderall is legal at all. After all, Adderall is a dangerous and addicting stimulant drug. Why is this medication legal at all? Why not just treat it like methamphetamine and cocaine? Surprisingly, methamphetamine and cocaine are also legal drugs with legitimate medical use! Methamphetamine is sold under the brand-name, Desoxyn. Cocaine is used as a topical anesthetic in certain medical procedures. So, while we must be vigilant in preventing Adderall abuse and Adderall addiction, we should also be aware of the fact that when taken at therapeutic doses as prescribed by a doctor for legitimate medical conditions, such as ADHD, narcolepsy, or even off-label for weight loss, Adderall can be a safe and effective medical treatment. Of course, doctors should attempt to use less addicting medications first wherever possible before turning to Adderall because of the high risk of Adderall addiction.

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