OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Stimulants

Commonly Abused Prescription Stimulants

Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin increase alertness, attention and energy by amplifying the activity of certain brain neurotransmitters including dopamine and norepinephrine. These prescription psychoactive drugs act similar to illegal substances like cocaine, crack and methamphetamine.

Originally prescribed for a wide variety of medical conditions, as the prevalence of abuse became more wide spread stricter standards were enacted. Today, prescription stimulants are predominately prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and occasionally depression.

Known as a “study drug” prescription stimulants are often misused as an academic performance enhancer to increase focus and to help students stay awake while studying.  However, studies have shown that the use of stimulants by people not diagnosed with a medical condition like ADHD, has no positive effect on learning or thinking ability.

Increasing the prescribed dosage of stimulants boosts the amount of dopamine in the brain too quickly producing a euphoric effect. Chasing this feeling of elation or “high” is what leads users into a pattern of abuse and subsequent addiction.

The following is a list of the most commonly abused prescription stimulants; their street names; how they’re administered; and their short and long-term health effects.

 If you or a loved one has an addiction to stimulants, you’re not alone.  Call us, 1-877-353-2777.  We can help you begin the recovery process.  The Farm in Stouffville is a private residential addiction treatment centre offering personalized drug and alcohol treatment and counseling.

ADDERALL (Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine)

Street Names: Addys, Uppers, Pep Pills, Black Beauties, Beans, Study Buddies, Truck Drivers, Speed, Bennies, Dexies

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Adderall Use: loss of appetite, fatigue, dizziness, disorientation, headache, nervousness, irritability, trouble sleeping, weight loss, dry mouth, fever, upset stomach, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Adderall Abuse: high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, tremors, depression, anxiety, aggression, panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behaviour, disrupted heart rhythm, seizures, Tourette’s syndrome, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, suicide, and death.

RITALIN (Methylphenidate)

Street Names: Rids, R-ball, Vitamin R, Kiddy Coke, Diet Coke, Pineapple, Skittles, Smarties, Kibbles & Bits, Jif, Skippy, Smart Drug, West Coast

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, smoked, as suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Ritalin Use: fatigue, euphoria, loss of appetite, confusion, headaches, weight loss, itching, excessive sweating, fever, dry mouth, rash, mood swings, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.

Long-Term Health Effects from Ritalin Abuse: high blood pressure, insomnia, tremors, depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behaviour, mania, altered heart rate, anorexia, seizures, anemia, liver damage, kidney damage, heart attack, stroke, suicide, and death.

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