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Influx of Fake Adderall Pills Laced with Fentanyl

With the fentanyl crisis, there is a lot of bad news to go around. The drug is found in six out of ten counterfeit pills. People who buy them think they’re getting Molly, Oxycodone, or other pills. Recently, some people who misuse Adderall, a stimulant used for ADHD, have turned to seek illicit sources due to a drug shortage. Authorities in the DEA say that Mexican drug cartels have been trafficking fentanyl meant to look exactly like prescription Adderall.

Cartels and dealers are flooding the underground drug market with fentanyl. And while law enforcement is always a step behind, it’s a dangerous prospect.

What is Adderall and Who Misuses It?

Adderall is a drug typically prescribed to help people with ADHD or narcolepsy. As a stimulant, it is highly addictive when misused.

In high school and college, the use  of Adderall use to stay up late or cram is referred to as a "study drug.” Nearly 4% of young people in America admit to using Adderall in this way every year. Ritalin, another ADHD drug, is also widely misused.

Why Are People Buying Adderall on The Street?

Stimulants like Adderall are highly addictive and, when taken regularly, can cause dependence. This means the body needs a certain amount of the drug daily to function without withdrawal symptoms.

Due to COVID and other production issues, people who normally get prescriptions for Adderall and Ritalin have had issues. This has also interrupted the illicit drug supply, which typically comes from pill mills that churn out huge amounts of prescriptions for drug dealers to distribute.

The lack of supply has left many stimulant users without their normal supply of drugs. Many of them have turned to apps like Snapchat to procure drugs. However, there’s no way for them to know what drug they’re actually getting. There’s often a chance that it’s tainted with fentanyl.

In recent drug tests, law enforcement have found street drugs sold as Adderall that ONLY contained fentanyl, which can be a deadly prospect for kids who do not use opioids.

Preventing Fentanyl Overdoses

Preventing fentanyl overdoses due to tainted street drugs is a difficult prospect. Drug dealers change their names and pack up overnight sometimes if there’s a death. Most young people don’t live to tell their parents where they got bad drugs.

Harm reduction is a major focus for preventing fentanyl overdoses.

If you know someone who uses drugs, talk to them about fentanyl and the dangers of the drug. Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, is usually available in pharmacies. Some cities hand it out for free through harm reduction programs.

Fentanyl testing strips are also available in some states. These can detect fentanyl in drugs like cocaine, Molly, and other pill forms. This can help users decide what risks are worth taking and avoid overdoses.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love need help with overcoming a substance use disorder, we’re here to help. The first step to getting better is reaching out. We’re happy to answer any questions about our programs and help you navigate your first steps toward recovery. Please call us at 619-363-4767 – it’s 100% confidential and we're here to guide you.




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Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

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