Drug abuse across the country has been on the rise for over a decade. Many areas of the nation are suffering from the worst outbreak of drug abuse in their history. The cause of substance addiction is a combination of several factors. Individuals who choose to experiment with alcohol or drugs never do so with the intentions of becoming an addict. Addiction is a progressive issue, which manifests itself over a period of use and abuse. Prescription drug abuse is often viewed as the culprit for the cause of the addiction. Prescription drugs are very popular in the United States; in fact this nation consumes the majority of the world’s prescription drugs. People are constantly over-prescribed, misdiagnosed and able to abuse drugs through illegal means. Amphetamines are one type of the many drugs that are constantly misused, abused and cause addiction.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a drug that works by stimulating the central nervous system. The most common stimulants are the ones prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The drugs provide increased wakefulness, energy, attention, concentration, self-confidence, improved mood and decreased appetite. These drugs are also used to treat narcolepsy, treatment for depression and obesity. Like other prescription drugs, if they are misused or abused they can cause addiction. The brand names of these drugs are Adderall, Ritalin Vyvanse, and Concerta. The purpose of these drugs is to make an individual, with ADD or ADHD, more capable of concentration, focus and work better and longer. The effects of these drugs are enticing to young adults who are worried about test scores. These students believe that the added focus and concentration will help them score higher on their exams. This leads them to borrow, purchase, or even steal the medications from friends, roommates, or strangers. The truth is that studies have yet to show any correlation between misuse of these medications and improved test scores. What studies have shown is that the repeated misuse of ADD or ADHD medications can result in increased stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, hallucinations, and even addiction. The consequences can be severe mentally, physically, and academically.

Amphetamine Information and Statistics

The abuse and improper use of prescription medications in the United States remains high, without signs of diminishing, and the majority of our society is unaware of the significant problem we as Americans have. In the United States alone, 52 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. The United States occupies 5% of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescriptions drugs. In 2010, there was enough prescription pain medications prescribed to medicate every adult American for every 4 hours, for one month. There were 8.76 million prescription medicine abusers in 2010. The three main prescription drugs abused were: Painkillers at 5.1 million, Tranquilizers at 2.2 million, and Stimulants at 1.1. Prescription drugs were obtained by:

-Free from Friend or Relative, 54.2%
-From one Doctor, 18.1%
-Bought/Took from friend or relative, 16.6%
-Drug dealer or stranger, 3.9%
-Other, 6.9%
-Bought on internet, .3%.

The twelve most used reasons for teen misuse of prescriptions are:

– “easy to get”
– “available everywhere”
– “they are not illegal”
– “easy to get through other people’s prescriptions”
– “can claim to have prescription is caught”
– “they are cheap”
– “safer to use than illegal drugs”
– “less shame attached to using”
– “easy to purchase over the internet”
– “can be used as study aides”
– “parents don’t care as much if caught”.

Reasons that People Abuse Amphetamine

People become addicted to amphetamines as a result of social anxieties, brain chemistry, genetics and employment issues. Like other drugs these factors can contribute to a dependence problem. Individuals whose parents have an amphetamine abuse/addiction problem are more likely to develop one of their own. Amphetamines release a chemical in the brain called catecholamines, which are prevalent in dopamine. This produces strong sensations of pleasure in the pleasure centers of the brain. Users will continue to use the drug to achieve that same sensation, but drug abuse is a zero sum game. The user will never be able to replicate that first time they abused the drug and will continue to increase abuse to try to achieve that same ‘high’. Others will abuse the drug as part of an effort to fit in with others. Amphetamine peer pressure comes from friends and from society. One of the side-effects is weight loss, which will cause some to abuse the drug in an effort to lose weight. Finally, stress from work or life can cause an individual to abuse the drug, which can quickly turn into addiction.

This drug is normally prescribed to those suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If it is used over a long term period that person’s body adapt to the drug, which will require higher or more frequent doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect. This is called a tolerance and is one of the first stages towards addiction. Since this drug is a stimulant it does increase a person’s sense of alertness, energy, and attention. Some users will enjoy these effects and continue to abuse the drug to achieve that feeling. The more they use it the less they will feel those sensations, which will require them to increase dosage and frequency of taking the drug. Another side effect of Amphetamine use and abuse is weight-loss. Many people will abuse the drug to lose weight, as it is a ‘benefit’, but weight gain will resume when they stop taking the drug. Smart drugs are prescription drugs that young adults believe help them increase their test scores. Amphetamine is a stimulant so it does increase energy and sometimes focus. Students will begin and continue to use this drug because they believe it will help increase their test scores. There have not been any concrete or significant results regarding Concerta, Ritalin, or other stimulants showing they can help to increase test scores. Many students experience a crash and lethargy that is equal to the intense ‘focus’ they initially feel from abusing the drug. Increased sensations of sleepiness, fatigue, depression, and reduced alertness always follow after taking the drug. Several students have reported severe headaches, nausea, and convulsions after snorting the drug.

If you or anyone you know is abusing amphetamines or is addicted to them you should seek professional help. There are a number of hotlines and help centers all over the country that are ready and willing to help. The longer an addiction is allowed to continue the worse it will become.