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Cassie

Historical amphetamine epidemics

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I was cleaning up my bookmarks on my favorites folder and saw this article I had bookmarked a while back. It's a brief history of amphetamine epidemics throughout history, written by Nicholas Rasmussen, author of the great book On Speed. If you've never read the book, this article is a good intro to it.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377281/

 

I think every doctor who prescribes this poison should heed these points from the article:

 

"By about 1960, widespread consumption had begun to make amphetamine’s negative health consequences more evident. Amphetamine psychosis had already been observed in the 1930s among long-term narcoleptic users of the drug, and individual case reports mounted during the 1940s and early 1950s." 

"Evidence was also emerging around 1960 that amphetamine is truly addictive, instead of merely “habituating” like caffeine, as leading pharmacologists had asserted when the drug was first introduced."

 

"When a drug is treated not only as a legal medicine but as a virtually harmless one, it is difficult to make a convincing case that the same drug is terribly harmful if used nonmedically. This is what happened in the 1960s and is presumably happening today. Thus, to end their rampant abuse, amphetamines had to be made strictly controlled substances and their prescription sharply curtailed. Today, amphetamines are widely accepted as safe even for small children, and this return of medical normalization inevitably undermines public health efforts to limit amphetamine abuse."

 

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... and onwards I imagine it will go.  The perennial drug looking for a disease.   I wonder what the disease will be 10 years from now?  No new thing under the sun.  

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Here is something related to a discussion on the historical usage of speed. I remember taking "Black Beauties" in the '70's to cram for finals in college. The crash was so harsh after only one pill, I stayed away from them because I so greatly feared the crash. If someone asked me if I thought I could take one of these pills everyday, I would have said I'd rather just put a gun to my head. I wonder how Adderall captured me when Black Beauties (now illegal) scared me off? Maybe it's the way the doctors start you off at .5mg dosages and walk you up to 20mg tablets 2 and 3 times a day.

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Here is something related to a discussion on the historical usage of speed. I remember taking "Black Beauties" in the '70's to cram for finals in college. The crash was so harsh after only one pill, I stayed away from them because I so greatly feared the crash. If someone asked me if I thought I could take one of these pills everyday, I would have said I'd rather just put a gun to my head. I wonder how Adderall captured me when Black Beauties (now illegal) scared me off? Maybe it's the way the doctors start you off at .5mg dosages and walk you up to 20mg tablets 2 and 3 times a day.

Before I had a prescription I took Adderall recreationally for about 2 years. A friend would just give me extra pills that he didn't take that month. I would take one or two 20mg per week. I remember during those times thinking how crazy it would be to take Adderall every day, considering how intense it was. But, then I got a prescription and my body just adapted to daily use so quickly...scary.

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By the late 1970's speed was strictly controlled.  My mom had a bottle of ritalin filled in 1970 that said "take as needed for energy".  In college (1980's)  I always said that I was glad that speed was illegal because I would be an addict.  Then I discovered adderall in the early 2000's and the rest is history.  I remember learning from my high school Health Class that amphetamines were addictive but heroin would kill you over the long term.  I now believe any uncontrolled harmful addiction will kill you eventually.  

I started out like you, Cassie, taking it in binges and then having days off, thinking how dumb and wasteful it would be to be a daily user...... for 5-6 years in the "tool stage"....then I got my script for another three+ years and became a full blown adderallic.

Thanks for the trivia tidbit, Cassie!  

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