Amphetamine is a type of drug that consists of both legal and illegal substances. Medically, they can be used to treat various health problems including obesity, narcolepsy (involuntary sleep disorders), and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). On the other hand, amphetamines are used illegally without a prescription to get high or improve performance for anything from school, work, and sports.
Adderall is the most popular and misused type of amphetamine today.
Amphetamines have many street names when used illegally and recreationally. Some of the most common names are speed, uppers, whiz, goey, and louee. Amphetamines also come in a variety of forms:
- Pills, tablets, and capsules
- Powders and pastes
With all of these different forms of amphetamines, there are numerous ways they can be used. They can be swallowed, rubbed into gums, snorted, injected, and smoked. Whether a person is taking swallowing them or injecting them, abuse of amphetamines can be very addictive and dangerous for the user.
Amphetamine was first discovered over 100 years ago, but in 1927 it was first synthesized as a cheaper and easier-to-produce substitute for ephedrine (usually used for spinal anesthesia and to treat asthma and low blood pressure.). Since then, amphetamine has been used to treat numerous health conditions ranging from asthma and low blood pressure to narcolepsy and concentration problems.
Benzedrine, the first trademarked production of the drug, and Dexedrine are some of the most amphetamine prescription medications. In the 1970s, Benzedrine became the leading medication and drug to treat what we now call ADHD. Before the ‘70s, the distribution and use of amphetamines were almost completely unregulated, with the Smithsonian Magazine describing America’s amphetamine epidemic during the Vietnam war as “normalized during war, fueled by weight worries, and prescribed with almost reckless abandon until the 1970s.” While amphetamines are still considered to be the most effective medications to help treat ADHD, they are often used as an illegal and recreational drug.
Young People and Amphetamine
Recent studies and reports have been shedding new light on the increased use and possible epidemic for young people abusing Adderall. According to a study from NYU, many high school seniors underreport nonmedical use of the drug, with as many as 25% of high school students not realizing Adderall is an illegal drug if not taken under a doctor’s supervision and with a prescription.
Because Adderall and other amphetamines are prescribed at high rates, many young people don’t realize the addictive qualities of the drugs. John Eadie, the coordinator for the National Emerging Threat Initiative, warns that stimulants and amphetamines are at the front of a new drug crisis. Many drug experts are warning the public of the dangers of prescription stimulants like Adderall.
Experts explain that amphetamines, while not the overdose threat like opioids, can actually be harder on the body. Some of the long-term health risks from misuse of amphetamines include:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Brain disease
In 2016, over 2.3 million people used heroin or other opioids to get high. Meanwhile, over 2.6 million people used stimulants to get high in that same year. While the CDC doesn’t track overdoses specific to amphetamine, overdose deaths caused by stimulants including amphetamines rose 30%, with 5,992 deaths in 2016 up to 7,663 deaths in 2017.
There Is Hope
Boardwalk Recovery has the expert medical staff to help you determine if you or your loved one’s use of amphetamines are a problem. Amphetamines, when taken for the first medical conditions, can be very helpful in living a healthy life. However, the high rates of addiction and misuse can lead to dangerous health complications. Many people who abuse stimulants also have cross-addictions to other drugs like alcohol and/or opioids. Whether someone is battling a single addiction to amphetamines or addictions to many narcotics, Boardwalk recovery is ready to answer any questions and help you formulate an effective and lasting treatment plan. Give us a call today to begin the process of getting you, your child’s, or your loved one’s life back on track.