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Many young people in recovery are acutely familiar with prescription stimulants, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Sometimes referred to as “study drugs,” doctors prescribe these types of medications to adolescents who display signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While amphetamine-based ADHD meds don’t carry as high a risk of overdose, compared to opioids, the risk of addiction is extremely high; but for some people, life without them would be untenable, reportedly.

The ability to focus is a necessary skill for getting ahead in life. If a person isn’t able to stay on task for long, it severely diminishes their ability to excel in school. So, doctors prescribe stimulants to counter people’s symptoms of ADHD, despite the apparent risks. What’s more, people with Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) prescriptions regularly divert their medications to friends and classmates looking to gain an edge. Any young person in recovery who has attended college knows that getting one’s hands on prescription stimulants is as simple as procuring marijuana.

Young people need to be made to understand that medical or nonmedical use of amphetamines can severely impact their lives. Health experts, parents, teachers, and faculty members must impress upon students that even though drugs like Adderall can give people a short-term advantage, continued use can come at a high cost down the road. Amphetamines, remember, are in the same family of narcotics as methamphetamine; and we probably don’t need to go down the list of negatives that accompany meth.


Take Your Pills


Study drugs, sometimes referred to as “Yale crack,” are not benign. Like opioids, even though pharmaceutical companies make these drugs with permission from the FDA, they can carry the risk of developing a use disorder and may cause premature death. Side effects of amphetamine use and abuse, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, include an increased risk of insomnia, depression, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, and stroke. Research appearing in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that Adderall misuse is highest among 18- to 25-year-olds. Between 2006 and 2011, non-medical Adderall use among young adults rose 67 percent, and associated emergency room visits rose by 156 percent. Most young people misusing and abusing Adderall do not have a prescription.

One of the best ways to educate young people is through multimedia, predominantly on the internet. Teens and adults in their early twenties are likely to have access to internet streaming sites, such as Netflix. In recent years, the streaming service has produced several informative documentaries covering cocaine, opioids, and the global drug trade. The latest project appearing on Netflix is, Take Your Pills. The doc aims to show young people the dark side of study drugs. The film’s producers include journalist Maria Shriver and her daughter, Christina Schwarzenegger.

“I feel that this is an epidemic, just from my firsthand experience in college, seeing the way that Adderall was so ridiculously overprescribed, overused. It was something I wanted to bring to the forefront,” Schwarzenegger, who has struggled with Adderall over the years, tells Deadline. “Talking with friends I went to college with about life post-college, we all couldn’t envision a life without Adderall, and that was incredibly troublesome to me and my friends.” 

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Stimulant Addiction Treatment

Hope By The Sea can help you or a loved one begin the journey of stimulant use disorder recovery. We are fully capable of assisting you in stemming the tide of active addiction and providing you the tools to lead a productive life free from drugs and alcohol. Please contact us today.