STIMULANTS – Drugs of Abuse









Stimulants speed up the body’s systems. This class
of drugs includes:
Prescription drugs such as amphetamines [Adderall and dexedrine], methylphenidate [Concerta and Ritalin], diet aids [such as didrex, Bontril, Preludin, Fastin, Adipex P, ionomin, and Meridia] and
illicitly produced drugs such as methamphetamine,
cocaine, and methcathinone.

Stimulants are diverted from legitimate channels
and clandestinely manufactured exclusively for the
illicit market.

What are common street names?
Common street names for stimulants include:
Bennies, Black Beauties, Cat, Coke, Crank, Crystal,
Flake, Ice, Pellets, R-Ball, Skippy, Snow, Speed, Uppers,
and Vitamin R

What do they look like?
Stimulants come in the form of:
Pills, powder, rocks, and injectable liquids

How are they abused?
Stimulants can be pills or capsules that are swallowed.
Smoking, snorting, or injecting stimulants produces a sudden
sensation known as a “rush” or a “flash.”

Abuse is often associated with a pattern of binge use — sporadically
consuming large doses of stimulants over a short
period of time. Heavy users may inject themselves every few
hours, continuing until they have depleted their drug supply or
reached a point of delirium, psychosis, and physical exhaustion.
During heavy use, all other interests become secondary to
recreating the initial euphoric rush.

What is their effect on the mind?
When used as drugs of abuse and not under a doctor’s
supervision, stimulants are frequently taken to:
•Produce a sense of exhilaration, enhance self-esteem,
improve mental and physical performance, increase activity,
reduce appetite, extend wakefulness for prolonged period,
and “get high”

Chronic, high-dose use is frequently associated with
agitation, hostility, panic, aggression, and suicidal or homicidal

Paranoia, sometimes accompanied by both auditory and visual
hallucinations, may also occur.

Tolerance, in which more and more drug is needed to produce
the usual effects, can develop rapidly, and psychological
dependence occurs. In fact, the strongest psychological
dependence observed occurs with the more potent stimulants,such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, methamphetamine,
cocaine, and methcathinone.

Abrupt cessation is commonly followed by depression, anxiety,
drug craving, and extreme fatigue, known as a “crash.”

What is their effect on the body?
Stimulants are sometimes referred to as uppers and reverse
the effects of fatigue on both mental and physical tasks.
Therapeutic levels of stimulants can produce exhilaration,
extended wakefulness, and loss of appetite. These effects are
greatly intensified when large doses of stimulants are taken.

Taking too large a dose at one time or taking large doses
over an extended period of time may cause such physical
side effects as:
Dizziness, tremors, headache, flushed skin, chest pain
with palpitations, excessive sweating, vomiting, and
abdominal cramps.

What are their overdose effects?
In overdose, unless there is medical intervention, high fever,
convulsions, and cardiovascular collapse may precede death.
Because accidental death is partially due to the effects of
stimulants on the body’s cardiovascular and temperatureregulating
systems, physical exertion increases the hazards of
stimulant use.

Which drugs cause similar effects?
Some hallucinogenic substances, such as ecstasy, have a
stimulant component to their activity.

What is their legal status in the United States?
A number of stimulants have no medical use in the United
States but have a high potential for abuse. These stimulants
are controlled in Schedule I. Some prescription stimulants
are not controlled, and some stimulants like tobacco and
caffeine don’t require a prescription — though society’s
recognition of their adverse effects has resulted in a
proliferation of caffeine-free products and efforts to discourage
cigarette smoking.

Stimulant chemicals in over-the-counter products, such as
ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, can be found in allergy and
cold medicine. As required by The Combat Methamphetamine
Epidemic Act of 2005, a retail outlet must store these
products out of reach of customers, either behind the counter
or in a locked cabinet. Regulated sellers are required to
maintain a written or electronic form of a logbook to record
sales of these products. In order to purchase these products,
customers must now show a photo identification issued by a
state or federal government. They are also required to write
or enter into the logbook: their name, signature, address,
date, and time of sale. In addition to the above, there are
daily and monthly sales limits set for customers.

SOURCE: A DEA Resource Guide 2017 Edition