Speed kills. We’ve known that since the days of Bennies and Black Beauties. These days though speed is killing at an ever alarming rate. Is America on the verge of a Speed Epidemic?
Everybody knows about America’s opioid epidemic. Heck, just about every American has been affected by it. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there’s also another drug America needs to worry about. Well, another class of drugs anyway.
They’re officially called psychostimulants. It could be crystal meth. It could be MDMA. Or it could be one of the many amphetamine-based prescription pills, such as Adderall or Ritalin. At the end of the day though, it’s simply speed. And it’s killing more and more Americans every year.
The CDC says there 23,139 overdose deaths involving some kind of psychostimulants in 2017. That’s nearly a third of the year’s 70,237 fatal overdoses. The year before psychostimulant-related overdose deaths jumped from 12,122 to 17,258. That’s an increase of 42% in just one year.
According to CNN, the CDC report evaluated drug overdose death data across age, sex and race and across all US census regions from 2003 to 2017. It also drilled down to evaluate drug use patterns in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
What was the takeaway? That the rise in speed-related deaths occurred across all demographic groups.
While psychostimulant overdose death rates were stable from 2003 to 2010; they increased by 29% every year between 2010 and 2017. Yes, opioids did play a role in that rise. But not a terribly significant role. Nevertheless, the CDC warns we still need to keep a sharp eye on the mixing of opioids and speed.
We wrote about people segueing from Adderall to meth over at Recovery Boot Camp. And we warned of the dangers of such a move. We also drew the parallels between prescription meds and methamphetamine. In fact, we pointed out that Adderall basically is meth. In almost every way, shape and form.
Well, Adderall is amphetamine anyway. Which is to say, it’s speed. Plain and simple. Sure, doctors call Adderall a psychostimulant. So does the FDA. And they’ve been using that term since 1937. Yep, you guessed it. That was the year the FDA approved psychostimulants to treat ADHD.
Why the FDA approved psychostimulants to treat patients as young as six years old is anyone’s guess. Why they continue to approve such treatment is alarming. Psychostimulants have a long history of abuse and dependence. In fact, studies show that children with ADHD who are treated with psychostimulants are less likely than those who are not treated with psychostimulants to develop substance use disorders. That’s not all either. Seems excessive use can also cause episodic amnesia.
Does that sound like something safe for children?
But that’s another story. We’re concerned with the addiction factor. And the addiction factor is considerable. Even the DEA says so. And they caution against prescribing psychostimulants to patients with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, scientists say acute withdrawal produces major elevations in brain reward thresholds that may play a critical role in driving escalation to dependence.
While we at Healing Properties always heed the findings of government officials, we don’t need the CDC or the DEA to know the inherent dangers in speed addiction. We see it each and every day. We treat it too. From Detox to Aftercare and every step between and beyond. Consequently, we also know that speed addiction can be beat. If, that is, you’re willing to seek effective addiction treatment. But boy oh boy, what wonders will be had once you’ve recovered.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to stimulants or any other type of drug, please give us a call. We’d very much like to help.