The Non-Existent Difference Between Adderall and Meth

difference between adderall and meth

We are a drugged society.

It wasn’t always like this, however. There was a time when people handled their problems by facing them and dealing with them head-on. There was a time when people didn’t pop pills like Pez and when people could trust their doctors and what they gave them. In those days, children weren’t hooked on speed and teenagers weren’t stealing painkillers out of their parent’s medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, now is not that time. Now, our society considers taking a “pill for every ill” completely acceptable and normal. Most of us are inundated with messages like “ask your doctor if such and such a drug is right for you” from the constant advertising of drugs and medications. Have a headache? Take Ibuprofen. Have stomach cramps? Take Pepto Bismol. Break your arm? Take Oxycontin. Your kid can’t pay attention in class? Give them Adderall.

One thing I find really interesting in regard to the mainstream acceptance of drugs in our society is the fact that meth is looked at as a really dangerous and dirty drug, but taking Adderall is considered totally fine and acceptable and there’s no problem giving it to your kids. The reason I find that really odd is the there’s virtually no difference between the two drugs. Yes, I understand meth is made in hidden labs with highly toxic chemicals and smuggled throughout the country and Adderall is attained legally, from your friendly pharmacist. But as far as the actual drug itself, I fail to see much of a difference. Dr. Carl L. Hart, neuroscientist and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University recently wrote an article discussing this topic and I found a lot of what he said to be very compelling.

First of all, the FDA has actually approved pharmaceutical-grade methamphetamine to treat obesity and ADHD and is called Desoxyn. The active ingredient in Adderall is d-amphetamine and its chemical structure is almost identical to meth. The effects Adderall and meth have on the user are very similar to each other, but for some reason, society has adopted widespread acceptance of Adderall, while turning its nose up at meth. Basically, there’s almost no difference between the two drugs. One of the only differences I can see is one of them is considered okay to give to your 6-year-old and the other one isn’t. We condemn one drug and take the other, but it doesn’t really work like that. How can we say Adderall is the “better of two evils” when it’s pretty much the same thing as meth? It seems like society would rather just stay oblivious to that fact.

Realistically, we should not be giving our kids, or anyone for that matter, prescription speed. Our society’s ideals seem to have completely gone out the window and here we are, in the full-swing of an opiate crisis, with another crisis ramping up. Some of us are just sitting back and thinking that prescribing speed, mostly to kids, is completely fine and acceptable.

When are we going to shift the paradigm of how we deal with things? If we don’t change what we’re doing, we might end up collapsing society in on itself. And then what do we do? This country can barely keep up with all the addicts who need treatment now, so what’s going to happen to the countless other addicts being created every day?

Luckily, there’s good help out there.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 11 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.