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Speed is an addictive and highly dangerous stimulant formed from the powder of methamphetamine (or just “meth” for short). During the 1920s pharmacists marketed the base drug for congestion. The military later used it as a performance enhancing drug during World War 2. Over time, it became a “cure all” drug for anything from weight loss to depression. Today, however, the harmful and addictive properties are widely known, and all forms of meth are illegal and classified as a Schedule II stimulant, meaning it increases and excites brain activity. While coffee can also be called stimulants, speed is incredibly addictive and is drastically detrimental to the body. Still, a lesser form of the substance is found in prescription drugs like Adderall and Desoxyn used to treat Attention Deficit and Hyperactive DIsorder (ADHD). The more potent forms are trafficked into the United States from all around the world and produced in unstable, homemade meth labs associated with gangs and extremely volatile chemical toxins. Drug obsession characterizes the lives of street addicts and often dangerously unsanitary living spaces, neglect and abuse of their children, and homelessness.

Speed is a white powder that goes by different street names, including crack, chalk, and uppers. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. The pleasurable high experienced from usage usually creates a psychological craving for more and eventually a controlling addiction. The side effects differ some depending on the person and how they take it, but as a dangerous stimulant it will generally affect the body by:

  • Creating irritability, unease, and restlessness
  • Irregular breathing and heartbeats
  • Impaired judgment and irrational thoughts of superiority and confidence which can result in physical aggression
  • Pale and peeling skin
  • Clattering jaw and repetitive speech

Long term or more potent doses of speed can lead to a sudden overdose that can induce a coma, a stroke, hallucinations, seizure and eventually loss of life. There is never a safe level of speed for anyone.

If you know someone who frequently has:

  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Uncontrollable speech and movements
  • Dilated eyes
  • Sudden and worsening skin problems
  • Restlessness

They may be suffering from a kind of meth addiction. Seek help for them immediately.

Adderall and Its Abuse

The legal drug Adderall contains a safe form of the amphetamine and doctors prescribe it in treatments of ADHD. If used as prescribed, it is intended to calm a person and allow them to focus. As such, the drug is widely used and abused by college students looking to get some extra energy buzz for studies. Known as a “study drug” it is widely distributed among students to cram during finals week. It is also used simply among employers stressed to meet deadlines and increasingly among athlete and video gamers. In fact, the International Olympics, since 1968, has banned Adderall from its athletes. Most other modern athletic organizations have followed suit. The drug is banned altogether in Japan and other nations. Adderall can have legitimate uses if used as directed, but abuse creates unnaturally high levels of dopamine, the body’s sensation of pleasure and euphoria, which has the user’s brain dependent for more. They will crave larger doses to maintain their jittery high, whether for increased production, focus, or late nights. Eventually, users will report being unable to work at all without the drug and suffer extreme tiredness and depression without it. An Adderall prescription is relatively easy to obtain and abuse. While it can start as a genuine effort to improve grades, studies show that college students face an increased risk of further drug abuse. It is also possible to overdose on Adderall, resulting in fainting, panic attacks, and further heart and chest problems. According to a 2009 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, college students using Adderall non-medically:

  • 8 times more likely to use cocaine
  • 3 times more likely to use marijuana
  • 8 times more likely to abuse tranquilizers
  • 90% identify as binge drinkers and about 50% as heavy drinkers

Adderall is so prevalent on college campuses that the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reported in 2014 that about 20% of all American university students identified as abusing stimulants. Usually, these are prescriptions are passed out among peers, which itself can be considered a federal distribution crime with heavy fines and sentences. The supposed performance boosting benefits actually never outweigh the harmful effects to your health and are detrimental to academics long term.

Treatment and Recovery

Speed addiction, like any drug abuse, can be beaten. As users are seeking treatment, they may suffer from withdrawal effects, including depression, anxiety, loss of sleep, and aggression. This behavior is typical for frequent drug users and may last for several days. Users will face an increased craving for the drug. Don’t let them give in! It may be best to seek professional accountability as they go through this phase. Personal support of family and close friends, as well professional counselors, will comfort them emotionally. This connection will also ensure their physical safety as they may go through hallucinations and violent tendencies withdrawing. Speed depletes and creates an apathy towards a regular diet. Thus, recovering users should seek a healthy diet of balanced nutrition and focus on normal sleep patterns to better combat the cravings. Therapy could include a wide variety of different things for a person to resume a normal life, including building life skills and connections. It begins admitting a problem, accepting responsibility, and opening up to personal accountability. The person might find necessary comfort in partnering with close loved one or going to a therapy center to seek like minded individuals. There is power in numbers and understanding that you are never alone in your suffering. Estimates for full recovery vary by person and their state of abuse, but it may take several weeks and months. Having the right mindset and attitude is vital. You may have made some bad choices, but your past does not have to define you. In time, you can seek forgiveness from those you have hurt. You can let your experience be a story of redemption to help others recover and deter those from going down a similar path.