Abuse of Adderall; History and Epidemiology of the Drug

Abuse of Adderall; History and Epidemiology of the Drug

Drug abuse is the center of all evil among the young generation in the world. The highest percentage was registered in the universities and colleges, where the students had wide exposure. Due to the alert and concern from the society, health bodies have taken more caution in the business of medicine. World Health Organization has been in the forefront to advocate for proper manufacture, transportation and use of the drugs produced by various pharmaceutical industries. The channels used to avail the drugs to the sellers and hospitals fails to adhere to the standard ethical procedures, heightening the cases of abuse. Although there have been concerted efforts to mitigate the cases, the information released by Findling et al.(2001) confirms that the cartels formed between the manufacturer and the retailers impede any move to seal the outlets.

Many abused drugs have been discussed over the media and other platforms to educate the populace about the dangers of their use. Some of them are cocaine, heroine,bhang,and others. Due to the increased familiarity and strict rules against them, people have developedcuriosity to investigate the alternatives (Rabiner et al., 2009). The improved and accessibility of modern technology has made it easier to conduct researches and obtain meaningful information of active ingredients of medicinal products. The paper will discuss adderall as one of the abused drug. It contains two chemical compounds: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Rabiner et al., 2009). The two active ingredients contribute to the efficacy of the drug when taken in the right dosage. However, when used in excess, it affects the brain and even central nervous system. The resultants effects are manifested as lack of sleep, increased fatigue,and improved muscle strength.

History and Epidemiology of the Drug

Artificial stimulation to improve productivity among the college students in the United State has existed since eon. According to the information released by Fagan et al. (2006), it was noted that the stages of drug discovery are associated with human trials and curiosity to understand how they work. The first mention of amphetamine came along with a Roman chemist, Lazar, in the year 1887(Fagan et al., 2006). Although he documented a lot of information concerning this chemical, he never discovered the psychological effects associated with it. Through his theoretical review, only the chemical and activity of the drug was written. However, Gorden Alles, a biochemist, discovered the psychological effects of the compound (Fagan et al., 2009). Alles initiated the process by injecting himself with 50 milligrams of the medicine. He was trying to come up with a drug which could replace ephedrine, which at that time was widely used to treat conditions such as flu and asthma.

After the drugs was injected into thebloodstream, Alles noticed some reactions which he did not anticipate. Gorden noted that his brain was racing and had asleepless night. He patented and published the amphetamine, with aclear illustration of its effects on human body (McCabe et al., 2006). This was the nascent stage through which the Adderall was discovered. Later, more studies and analysis were done to determine the right dosage that could bring about the healing effects. The study of this medicine has been propagated over the years, with continuous modifications to improve its therapeutic role (Fagan et al., 2009). Other chemical compounds that could easily combine with the amphetamine were analyzed, to facilitate the production process.  The figure below illustrates the structure of Adderall (McNiel et al., 2011).

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Figure 1: Structure of adderall (McNiel et al., 2011)

Pharmacology of Adderall

The active ingredient is amphetamine, which works primarily by increasing the functioning of the brain cell. According to the study conducted byFindling et al. (2001), it was noted that the drug is responsible for triggering the production of other hormones such as epinephrine. Also, the research affirmed that neurotransmitters such as histamine and serotonin were increased, when the patient was on Adderall medication. The active components (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) binds to the specific sites in the body. The affinity of the drug to these biological targets is different among the two chemicals. More work was done by Rabiner et al. (2009), who asserted that dextroamphetamine is more responsive compared to the amphetamine because it constitutes 75% of the total assay of the drug. When overused, it has the effect of causing thehigh release of transmitters and hormones, which increases the functioning of the brain. It also causes an individual to stay awake for a long period of time. The graph below compares the concentration of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine in the blood, over a period of a given time (Desantis & Hane, 2010)

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Figure 2: Concentration of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine in the blood (Desantis & Hane, 2010)

How Adderall in Is Grown and Manufactured, transported and marketed.

The derivatives of amphetamine are extracted from ephedra plant. Various processes are employed to conduct the process before the final mixture is separated. According to McCabe et al. (2006) analysis using instrumentations such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography should be utilized to achieve separation. The plant was established to thrive well in lowlands of Ethiopia. It grows well in areas with high temperatures and low rainfall. The manufacturing process begins by identifying the right components to include in the tablet (Fagan et al., 2009). The active ingredients, such as amphetamine is the major chemical contained in the formulation. The inactive ingredients are: lactitol, magnesium stearate,and cellulose. Color is added as the final product to make the tablet appealing to the patient. Additionally, the manufacturing process should be conducted in a clean environment, with strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (McNiel et al., 2011). Once the chemicalsare combined in the right proportion, compression of tablets follows. However, syrups and injectable solutions undergo a different procedure, but retaining the necessary content.

Pharmaceutical products are transported in a delicate manner compared to other goods. According to the World Health Organization, the medicine should possess the same efficacy when it is received by the end user (Findling et al., 2001). Ensuring that breakage and chemical decomposition does not happen while in transit is the major reason for packing the products in thecartoons. Additionally, the drug should be repackaged in smaller units to avoid the chances of damage when in mass consignment. Also, proper packaging prevents the chemical decomposition which can be caused by direct interaction with the sun when loading and offloading. The carrier is expected to have a cooling system to maintain the room temperature. Rabiner et al. (2009) affirms that amphetamine has amines side chains that are held by weak covalent bonds. Exposure to extreme heat can break the bonds resulting in a change of chemical components in the final product.

Marketing is the strategy of familiarising the customers to the products.  Drugs are used when the person is sick and, therefore, advertising and other methods of reaching to the final user is rarely done. The manufacturers liaise with companies to the retailers and wholesalers, who store the drug for redistribution (Desantis & Hane, 2010). Additionally, pharmacist visits the potential drug stores and explain the efficacy and pharmacokinetics of the drug, to lure the stockist to buy the product.

The dosage and expected effects

The medicine comes in the form of tablet or capsules.  The release of the active ingredient is dependent on age, and the weight of the body. It is, therefore, important to understand the patient’s history based on the elements indicated (Raniner et al., 2009). Children who are starting medication should be given 10mg/day. The dosage can be reduced to 5mg/day as the patient continues to recover (McCabe et al., 2006). Adolescent and adults are recommended to take 20mg/day, with apossible increase in case the problem does not abate.  The prescription should be administered by a licensed medical practitioner, to avoid the misuse of the drug. After taking the medicine following the directions given by the doctor, the effects are felt within a day (Fagan et al., 2009). The stimulation of nervous system is experienced and the patients can be able to tell the changes. However, if it reacts negatively with the body, the infirm is supposed to report immediately.

Side Effects and Overdose

Human bodies react differently after taking the medicine.There are documented side effects associated with Adderall, which discourages the users from finishing the recommended dosage. Some of them are: sleep problem, headache, fever, dry mouth among others. Although the side effects are not fatal, continued use could introduce other complications in the body such as depression. Amphetamine overdose is a common trend which has been reported by medical officers. If appropriate care is not taken, it can results in immediate death without the knowledge of the user. The study conducted by Fagan et al. (2009) indicated that taking higher dosage than the therapeutic level increases the chances of addiction. Exceeding the recommended dosage leads to convulsions and coma.

Specific treatment for Adderall abuse

There are various treatment methods that can be employed to rehabilitate an individual who has been abusing amphetamine. The chemical accumulation can cause lifetime effects, hence impeding the normal functioning of the body (Desantis & Hane, 2010). One strategy that can be adopted is detoxification. The process happens in a licensed medical facility or even in a rehabilitation center with a registered doctor. The victim is injected with a medicine which is able to flush out the chemicals, by weakening their concentration in the blood. The affected person is put under continuous and professional check until the condition normalizes.  Second, psychotherapy is conducted to heal the drug addict emotionally. According to Rabiner et al.(2009), theprofessional therapist is trained to understand the thinking of people and help them discover their positive side. However, other helpful procedures can be employed to help in saving the lives of people lost in drugs.


The traditional abuse of drugs has evolved into more sophisticated phenomena. Initially, people were used to the normal chemicals such as heroin, bhang, cocaine,and others. They are still in use but under high secrecy level. The hefty fines charged when an individual is caught selling or buying the drugs has necessitated thesearch for analternative remedy. The users have realized that some of thehuman medicines are manufactured with acertain percentage of chemicals that can give them desirable feelings. The current pharmaceutical stores are focused on making huge returns, rather than investing in theprotection of human life. People are able to access any quantity of medicine they require over the counter, without questioning by the seller. In order to end misuse of Adderall, it is important for the government and medical bodies to impose policies that limit buying of medicinal products without prescription from a licensed doctor. Failure to tame this behavior could result in more fatal cases in the future.

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