Adderall is one of the most popular drugs in America. And make no mistake about it, Adderall is a drug. It has, however, cruised under a dense fog of pharmaceutical justifications for almost a decade. ADD and ADHD diagnosis has grown and given way to mass prescribing of Adderall. Worse more, even as some condemnation over Adderall has spawned, the black market for Adderall has grown enough to fill in any voids. Millenials are taking Adderall as if it were candy.
Known as a “focus drug” that helps college students “cram for exams,” Adderall use is the second most used drug on college campuses (the first is marijuana). And its careening well beyond the college experience and into the good old traditional workforce. Between 2011 and 2015, standard corporate drug testing found a 44% increase in amphetamine use.
Adderall is an addictive drug, something that many college students don’t realize at the time of use. Because of the drug’s widespread popularity, many college students see Adderall as a drug that offers temporary focus help. They also see taking Adderall as a mainstream experience supported by a large swath of the medical community. They often aren’t aware of the dire state of withdrawal that is caused by stopping Adderall usage. Richard Fee, a class president, and medical student didn’t realize the addictive dynamics of Adderall until he quit using it and realized how difficult his days ahead would be. He ended up hanging himself. He was an addict, like any addict of any drug, his mind was broken down and enslaved by a drug he felt he could never quit. But Fee didn’t buy Adderall underneath of a freeway underpass, doctors readily prescribed it to him for years.
With Adderall, it seems, your journey always ends exactly the same even if you do not quit using it. In 2009, the Scientific American reported that Adderall use over a long period of time potentially changed a person’s brain dynamic so drastically that they often ended up depressed, anxious, and paranoid. There are even reports that long-term Adderall use leads to delusions and hallucinations and psychotic behaviors.
Journalist Casey Schwartz has been an outspoken critic of Adderall for years. She’s a former addict who strives to spread awareness regarding Adderall addiction.
“My life was no longer my own,” she wrote in a New York Times Magazine article. “I had long been telling myself that by taking Adderall, I was exerting total control over my fallible self, but in truth, it was the opposite: The Adderall made my life unpredictable, blowing black storm systems over my horizon with no warning at all.”
In the early days, using Adderall results in feelings of euphoria, extreme focus, and an increased desire to have sex. When productivity and general happiness elevate, it is easy to see how this medicine could become highly addictive even beyond it’s seemingly physical enslavement. We live in a society that pushes narratives such as ADD and ADHD to a point that people self-diagnose themselves with the “ailments.” Often times, lack of focus is the result of a poor diet.
Conveniently, there isn’t a ton of research that explores how detrimental Adderall is to the human brain. Pharmaceutical research simply doesn’t delve into any explorations which may stifle revenue.
An Irish pharmaceutical company and maker of Adderall was recently ordered to pay $56.5 million in fines due to utilizing exaggerated claims regarding Adderall’s effects. Adderall XR and Vyvanse, both of which are ADD and ADHD ‘cures,’ were named in the settlement. According to the DOJ, Shire claimed that Adderall XR would “normalize” kids. The DOJ also claimed that Shire couldn’t confirm any claims made regarding what Adderall XR could do, including claims such as that it could help to “reduce unemployment” and “increase academic achievements.” They also claimed that both Vyvanse and Adderall XR were “less addictive” than their competitors’ versions.
“Marketing efforts that influence a doctor’s independent judgment can undermine the doctor-patient relationship and short-change the patient,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger in a statement Wednesday. “Where children’s medication is concerned, it can interfere with a parent’s right to clear information regarding the risks to the safety and health of their child.”
Shire refuses to admit any wrongdoing, even after paying the settlement. The DOJ’s investigation into Shire was the result of several internal whistleblowers, including an executive and three sales representatives.
In case you were concerned for the well-being of Shire following paying the $56 million dollars fine, rest easy, Shire officially made $1.03 billion selling Adderall XR in 2007 alone. In 2014, pharmaceutical giant Abbvie ceased a deal to buy out Shire for $54 billion dollars. Everyone wants a piece of the Adderall market.
Adderall addiction can almost seem like a hopeless issue to resolve. Doctors have little training when it comes to appropriate prescribing of the drug. Most cases of ADHD seem bogus (yes, I inserted opinion). The drug is changing the brains of millions of our youth, turning them into addicts who robotically and emotionlessly and helplessly move through life. Many of them are finding that they exchanged a few weeks of euphoria and focus for a lifetime’s worth of addiction. And unlike alcohol or cocaine, Adderall has few places that offer addicts treatment. Doctors continue to prescribe Adderall at an astounding rate, making us nowhere near any resolution.
We need to better educate parents who are constantly told that their children have ADHD and ADD. Teachers, school counselors, and doctors, consistently seem to pressure parents into believing they need to drug their children. Some parents, of course, are just lazy and are looking for any easy solutions to their child’s behavioral issues. Often, behavioral issues are just the result of normal child behavior. Pharmaceutical influence offers easy solutions. The problem is, parents, don’t realize that they are trading their child’s ultimate health for irreversible brain damage.
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Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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