Pubdate: Mon, 19 Nov 2001
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
Copyright: 2001 The Star-Journal Publishing Corp.
Author: Martha Irvine (AP)


She Had No Idea She Had A Popular Party Drug On Hand.

To her, the vial of prescription pills she'd once been given to treat 
attention deficit disorder were just leftovers, until a friend from New 
York called to ask if she'd mail out a few - just for fun.

The woman, a 29-year-old San Diego resident, didn't do it. But she and her 
friends were intrigued.

"We said, 'We should just try it. It could be fun,"' says the woman who, on 
the condition that she not be named, told how they partied on the drug once 
this summer and again in September.

In this case, the stimulant of choice was Adderall, an amphetamine. Others 
use methylphenidate, another attention-deficit drug more widely known by 
one of its brand names: Ritalin.

Whatever the type, authorities are concerned about ADD drug abuse.

Some unprescribed users are adults. But experts say many are young people - 
a good number of them grade schoolers, who get the drugs from peers being 
treated for ADD.

"They've got pretty easy access to it," says Steve Walton, a detective with 
the Calgary Police Service in Canada and author of the book "First Response 
Guide to Street Drugs."

Users often crush the pills and snort them to get a cocaine-like rush.

Walton says he's also found youth who frequent the rave dance-party scene 
"stacking" the drug Ecstasy with Ritalin to try and prolong their high. He 
calls the practice "alarming."

Reports of ADD stimulant abuse continue to surface in this country, too. 
They include the case of two rural teens arrested in January for stealing 
$9,700 worth of drugs, including Ritalin and amphetamines, from a pharmacy 
in tiny Lacon, Ill.

In March, 11 sixth-graders in Scituate, R.I., were suspended for buying and 
selling prescription drugs, including Adderall and Concerta, a newer form 
of methylphenidate.

Surveys of young people - from Massachusetts to the Midwest - also have 
documented the trend.

One of them, published in this month's Psychology in the Schools journal, 
focussed on 651 students, ages 11 to 18, from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Researchers found that more than a third of students who took 
attention-deficit medication said they'd been asked to sell or trade their 
drugs. And more than half of students who weren't prescribed the medication 
said they knew students who gave away or sold their medication.

"I've been trying to tell anyone who will listen," says William 
Frankenberger, study co-author and a psychology professor at the University 
of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. "People don't realize what these drugs are - and 
that the similarities between them and cocaine are much greater than the 

Officials at the federal Drug Enforcement Administration say abuse of 
prescription stimulants became more common in the last five years, as 
production of Ritalin increased and other drugs were introduced into the 

But some, including doctors, wonder if new "time-release" versions of the 
drugs are slowing the abuse.

They include Concerta, taken just once a day - so an ADD child doesn't have 
to bring the drugs to school. Time-release versions are also more difficult 
to crush and, thus, snort, says Dr. Timothy Wilens, a Harvard Medical 
School psychiatry professor.

For her part, the 29-year-old from San Diego says she has no plans to party 
with Adderall again.

"I just try to remember how I felt after," she says, recounting that a 
feeling of "utmost clarity" turned to insomnia and left her "crashed out 
and overdone" the following day.

Then in the next breath, she admits she's kept 20 of the pills.

"I don't know why," she says. "Maybe for a special occasion."erdone" the 
following day.

Then in the next breath, she admits she's kept 20 of the pills.

"I don't know why," she says. "Maybe for a special occasion."
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