Did you know that amphetamines are the most-abused drugs in the state of California?
Amphetamines are the class of drugs that include methamphetamine as well as prescription medications prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2015 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report found there were almost 45,000 drug treatment admissions in California that listed an amphetamine as the primary drug of choice – more than any other substance.
That is nearly a third of all treatment admissions in the state.
This doesn’t actually come as a surprise. Between 2013 and 2015, there were close to 140,000 admissions for amphetamines in California.
Examples of Amphetamines
Medications containing amphetamines are commonly prescribed as a treatment for ADHD. Adderall/Adderall XR is the most well-known, but there are many more, including:
Illicit methamphetamine drugs are also classified as amphetamines.
Abusing Prescription Amphetamines
Prescription ADHD amphetamines are very popular drugs of abuse among high school and college students. In fact, compared to other age groups, college-age students have a DOUBLED risk of prescription stimulant abuse.
These medications are misused because they supposedly have cognitive-enhancing effects, thus making them desirable as study aids. That’s why 40% of college-age amphetamine abusers use them during finals.
How widespread the problem?
- 4 out of 5 college students who misuse medications without a prescription self-report using prescription stimulants.
- During their college careers, over 60% of students have an opportunity to misuse ADHD amphetamines.
- 31% take that opportunity.
Methamphetamine Abuse in California
Methamphetamines, on the other hand, are abused because they produce a surge of energy, a feeling of euphoria, and enhance the sexual experience.
Because American law enforcement agencies have limited the availability of the precursor chemicals needed to make methamphetamines, production of the drug has exploded South of the border. Because the demand for Mexican marijuana has plummeted due to the legalization in many American states, drug cartels are making more meth than ever.
This puts Southern California in harm’s way.
How bad is the meth problem in Southern California—San Diego County, Orange County, etc?
Between 2009 and 2014, methamphetamine confiscations in the state spiked 300%. In 2014 alone, the San Diego Drug Enforcement Agency season nearly 15,000 pounds of methamphetamines.
To put that number in perspective, it represents over 60% of all the meth confiscated in the US that year.
Do seizures translate to use?
Between 2010 and 2013, there was a 69% increase in the number of Americans reporting past-month use of methamphetamines, jumping from 353,000 to 595,000.
Are Amphetamines Dangerous?
When abused, amphetamines are extremely-dangerous drugs that lead to serious health problems –
- Brain damage
- Heart problems
- Skin lesions
- Tooth decay and loss
What Does All This Mean?
Although the opioid epidemic is in the headlines almost daily, amphetamines are an underreported but serious problem in California.
The issue is complicated by the fact that popularly-abused ADHD medications are needed to treat a legitimate medical condition that affects MILLIONS of children and young adults. Unfortunately, 90% of young adults who abuse prescription amphetamines admit to faking their symptoms.
Specifically for California, the booming production and availability of amphetamines creates a hazard not seen in other areas of the country.
Amphetamine abusers are at MUCH higher risk for the illicit use of other drugs or excessive drinking. And polydrug use is the most dangerous kind of substance abuse there is. 98% of fatal overdoses involve more than one drug.
If you or someone you care about is abusing amphetamines or any other drug, Chapman House drug rehab in Orange County can provide the help and support you need.
By Albert Fontenot