Baby Boomers Snarfing Adderall Like Its Cocaine

Photo:  FtWashGuy (CC)

Photo: FtWashGuy (CC)

High school and college kids have been complaining about shortages of their favorite “study” drugs Ritalin and Adderall over the last couple of years; was the shortage really because the baby boomers decided they could use a little more “focus” too? Sandy Hingston suggests they may be the new drugs of choice for her generation, writing in PhillyMag:

It’s been 25 years since I last ingested an illegal substance. In all that time, I haven’t gotten so much as a parking ticket. I raised two kids—one an Eagle Scout, the other Phi Beta Kappa. I was a Girl Scout leader and a Touchdown Club mom. I stayed married to the same man.

The capsule is orange on the bottom, clear on the top. The pellets inside are dead ringers for the sprinkles I put on Christmas cookies. I set the capsule on my tongue, take a sip from a water bottle. “That’s that,” I say, and sit down at my kitchen table to wait.

The capsule is Adderall XR, the extended-release version of a drug currently prescribed to some four million American kids between the ages of four and 17 for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It contains amphetamine salts that stop transporters within cells from clearing dopamine away, thus preventing its reuptake and leaving it puddled in the synaptic gap. Dopamine is a hormone that affects the brain’s experiences of reward and pleasure; heightened levels are thought to increase one’s ability to focus and concentrate. Cocaine also inhibits the reuptake of dopamine.

Twenty-five years ago, coke was my favorite drug.

I’m not expecting Adderall to be anything like coke, though. After all, millions of parents give this to their children every day. And lately, millions more young adults take it—in 2011, 14 million monthly Adderall prescriptions were written for Americans ages 20 to 39, two and a half times more than just four years ago. Beyond that, as many as 35 percent of all college students use Adderall or its cousins, like Ritalin and Vyvanse, illegally. They’re not taking these drugs for kicks, the way we used to do coke. They’re using them as study aids—to help them plow through textbooks, cram for exams, stay up all night writing term papers.

As the drug begins to take effect, though—and it doesn’t take long—I experience the onset of … well, the word that comes to mind is “euphoria.” The sunlight through my kitchen windows seems brighter. The lilies-of-the-valley in the jar in front of me smell sweeter. I laugh at the sensation, and my laughter makes me laugh again.

Then I laugh even louder as the realization hits me: Study aids, my ass. The little shits are getting high….

[continues at PhillyMag]

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  • Adamas Macalz

    I took this all throughout school… it definitely improves focus, as I can’t single task for shit on my own, outside of certain types of activities or something I have developed an obsession with. The downside is the emotional effect… I was diagnosed with bipolar at one point, but I think it was more of a blunted sense of empathy(which still effects me to a lesser extent without the medication)than mood swings. I can’t really blame that on the medication but I do think the meds simply magnified a preexisting problem.

  • Lookinfor Buford

    Yes, amphetamine addiction is fer real.

  • Ittabena

    A friend offered me one to help me clean my house once. Knowing what it was used for I didn’t want any part of it.

  • mannyfurious

    I took an an Adderall once in college because some girl told me we’d be able to fuck for like 8 hours. Obviously, that claim turned out not to be true, but it was a pretty decent little buzz–like, literally, a “buzz,” a shot of energy and happiness. I could see how people could get hooked on it pretty easily, so I never went out of my way to take one again.

  • Tchoutoye

    …a drug currently prescribed to some four million American kids between the ages of four and 17… The little shits are getting high

    Someone (like Harmony Korine) should make a move called “I Was a Kindergarten Dope Fiend”.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Rich people have their legal prescription speed, everyone else gets strung out on black market [/Mexican] tweak and get branded as criminals for the rest of their lives if they’re ever caught.

    I don’t see any problems with that. Seems fair enough.

  • LudusVan

    I don’t know if I’ve been doing it wrong, but I’ve been taking ADD meds for years, and they don’t seem to do shit for me.

  • jnana

    what goes up…

  • Deteis

    I’ve done both Adderall (TM) and Cocaine and I must attest that Adderall produced both a far more powerful high and a far more unpleasant one.

    • alizardx

      If you try illegal amphetamines, you’ll be reminded unpleasantly of Adderall. This may have something to do with the fact that the ingredients of Adderall are “amphetamines and amphetamine salts” (via RXlist).

  • Luis Alfredo Giraldo

    You cant snort adderall XR and get high, you can however snort ritalin and get high because ritallin is meant to work as soon as it hits the system while adderall xr was formulated to last longer by slowly being absorbed you can however take more and get high that way….And now you know kids and knowing is half the battle

    • Noah_Nine

      oh yes you can…. where there’s a will there’s a way….

  • alizardx

    One would think Boomers would remember a 60s slogan “speed kills”.

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