Stimulants are a class of drugs that speed up the body’s central nervous system (CNS) which includes both physical and mental processes. Since the term stimulant encompasses an entire class of drugs they fall across many categories under the Controlled Substances Act. There are many stimulants that have a legitimate medicinal use for the treatment of conditions such as obesity, narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders. These drugs are prescribed to combat the above conditions; amphetamines (Adderall® and Dexedrine®), methylphenidate (Concerta® and Ritalin®), diet aids (such as Didrex®, Bontril®, Preludin®, Fastin®, Adipex P®,Ionomin®, Meridia®). Most of these prescription stimulants vary in their level of control from Schedules II to IV, depending on their potential for abuse and dependence.
There are a number of stimulants that have no medicinal use in the United States but have a high potential for abuse. These stimulants are controlled in Schedule I and include illicitly produced drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and methcathinone. Stimulants like tobacco and caffeine don’t require a prescription; though society’s recognition of their adverse effects has resulted in an abundance of caffeine-free products and mass efforts to discourage cigarette smoking. When used as drugs of abuse and not under a doctor’s supervision, stimulants are frequently taken to produce a sense of exhilaration, enhance self-esteem, improve mental and physical performance, increase activity, reduce appetite, extend wakefulness for prolonged period and to “get high.”
Some prescription stimulants are not controlled by the CSA, such as over-the-counter products like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine that are found in allergy and cold medicine. Although because of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, the retailer must store these products either behind the counter or in a locked cabinet. Regulated sellers are required to maintain a written or electronic logbook to record the sales of these products. In order to purchase these products, customers must now show a photo identification issued by a state or federal government. They are also required to write or enter into the logbook: their name, signature, address, date and time of sale. In addition to the above, there are daily and monthly sales limits set for customers. Even with these strict regulations stimulants are still easily obtained by abusers because of the illegal labs the manufacture them exclusively for the illicit market.
Stimulants come in many forms such as pills, powder, rocks and liquids. Many of the prescription stimulants are pills that are swallowed by users. Individuals who smoke, snort or inject stimulants are looking for the sudden sensation it produces called a “rush” or a “flash.” Stimulant abuse is usually associated with a pattern of binging, meaning the user takes a large dose of stimulants over a short period of time. Individuals who use heavily have been known to inject themselves every few hours and will continue to do so until they have depleted their supply or have reached a point of delirium, psychosis and/or physical exhaustion. During this type of use the abuser is striving to recreate the initial euphoric rush.
Individuals who chronically abuse stimulants in high-doses frequently experience agitation, hostility, panic, aggression and suicidal or homicidal tendencies. They can also experience paranoia, sometimes accompanied by both auditory and visual hallucinations. Tolerance can develop rapidly in frequent stimulant abusers and leads to psychological dependence. This is where more and more of the drug is needed to produce the desired effects. In fact, the strongest psychological dependence occurs with the more potent stimulants such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, methamphetamine, cocaine and methacathinone. When an individual stops using stimulants abruptly they experience depression, anxiety, drug cravings and extreme fatigue. This is known as a “crash.”
Therapeutic levels of stimulants can produce exhilaration, extended wakefulness, and loss of appetite. These effects are exponentially intensified when large doses of stimulants are taken. Taking too large a dose at one time or taking large doses over an extended period of time may cause such physical side effects as dizziness, tremors, headache, flushed skin, chest pain with palpitations, excessive sweating, vomiting and abdominal cramps. When an individual overdoses, unless there is medical intervention, they will experience a high fever, convulsions, cardiovascular collapse and death. Accidental death is partially due to the effects of stimulants on the body’s cardiovascular and temperature-regulating systems, physical exertion increases the risks of stimulant use.
Street names of Stimulants include: Bennies, Black Beauties, Cat, Coke, Crank, Crystal, Flake, Ice, Pellets, R-Ball, Skippy, Snow, Speed, Uppers and Vitamin R. Drugs that have similar effects include: Ecstasy.
If you or someone you love has a problem with Stimulants, call our professionals at Sobriety Resources (855)289-2640 today to experience the freedom of sobriety.