Is Adderall The New Caffeine?

by Brendan James

Will Oremus takes a sober look at the unprescribed use of Adderall and questions whether it might become recognized as a casual performance enhancer like coffee:

In fact, there is scant evidence that Adderall is physically addictive or dangerous if used responsibly by adults. Its side effects—which can include dizziness, weight loss, and increased heart rate—are real and worth watching out for. People with cardiovascular conditions in particular could have an adverse response, which is one good reason why people should think twice before taking the drug without consulting their doctor. And as with pretty much any medication, crushing and snorting Adderall to get high, or taking more than the recommended dose, is patently foolish. But the drug appears to be far safer on the whole than legal substances like alcohol and nicotine. Even that terrifying Times article [about the Adderall-linked suicide of Richard Fee], if you read it to the bitter end, acknowledges that “almost every one of more than 40 ADHD experts interviewed for this article said that worst-case scenarios like [Fee’s] can occur with any medication.”