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Amphetamine Drug Abuse

Amphetamine drug abuse has had a long history in the United States. The US is currently in the midst of an amphetamine epidemic. Diversion of prescription drugs that contain amphetamine or are metabolized into amphetamine-like substances plus illicit methamphetamine production have become a national concern. Studies show that amphetamine drug abuse doubled in the United States from 1983 to 1988, doubled again between 1988 and 1992, and then quintupled from 1992 to 2002.

Amphetamine Drug Abuse: What are amphetamines?

Amphetamines are known as stimulants. They increase energy and focus while decreasing appetite. Amphetamines are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as Adderall and Dexedrine, as well as “street” drugs like methamphetamine.

Prescription drugs that contain, or metabolize into, amphetamine include Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Desoxyn, Didrex, ProCentra, and Vyvanse. They are often used in medical settings to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Recreationally, amphetamine drug abuse is used a performance enhancer and known as “speed”.

Methamphetamine, also known as Chalk, Crank, Croak, Crypto, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Meth, Tweek, or White Cross, is a central nervous system stimulant. It increases energy, awareness, and alertness. In high doses, it causes a feeling of euphoria. Methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, but this is rare, as its medical uses are limited. Most “street meth” is chemically concocted in small, illegal laboratories.

Amphetamine Drug Abuse: History

The first amphetamine drug abuse epidemic in the US occurred in the 1960’s, peaking around 1969. Today’s non-medical amphetamine use and amphetamine abuse and dependence have reached the same levels that they were at back then. The first amphetamine epidemic was created by the pharmaceutical industry and mostly well-meaning prescribers. It was quickly ended when the FDA began regulating the production of amphetamines and labeled the drug a Schedule 2 narcotic.

The current amphetamine problem began through a combination of recreational drug abuse trends and increased illicit supply since the late 1980s. Deaths from methamphetamine have increased 2-3 fold since the 80’s, but these increases have been mostly regulated to the areas of the country where supplies from illegal labs are readily available.

Amphetamine Drug Abuse: Study Drugs

Although illicitly manufactured methamphetamine is a huge part of the current epidemic, the United States has seen a surge in the legal supply and use of amphetamine- type attention deficit medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall. Doctors are diagnosing patients with ADHD with increasing frequency, and the number of prescriptions of these types of medications has risen dramatically. With more individuals having access to these types of medications, diversion becomes more common. The sale of ADHD medications between students has become a widespread problem on high school and college campuses throughout the US. Experts estimate that over a third of college students have used ADHD medications without a prescription.

Amphetamine Drug Abuse: Addiction

Amphetamine drug abuse is highly addictive. In addition, amphetamine addiction is one of the most difficult forms of addictions to treat. Most chronic users experience heavy withdrawal symptoms when amphetamine use is abruptly stopped. Several drugs are used to treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Because of the neurotoxicity caused by amphetamine on dopamine neurons, post-acute withdrawal (withdrawal lasting for weeks or months) is common.

If your loved one is in need of amphetamine addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.



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