A Neuroscientist Explains Why Adderall Is Exactly The Same As Meth


Adderall is one of the most popular drugs in the United States. A couple of weeks ago, I published an article regarding the Adderall epidemic occurring across our college campuses. “Adderall has squeezed through the murky crevices to become a college drug footnote. Adderall is so rampant on college campuses that you almost assume other students to be users. According to CNN, about 30 percent of students use the drug for non-medical purposes.”

Adderall has all the general makeup of a dangerous and addictive drug, but our society tends to ignore the ramifications due to the drug’s social acceptability. An article yesterday in Vice caught my attention in this regard. The article is written by Neuroscientist Carl Hart. Dr. Carl L. Hart is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also the author of the book High Price: A neuroscientist’s journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society.

In the column, Hart articulately compares the effects of Adderall to the effects of meth. But he interestingly paints a picture of a bias towards meth. The point he is attempting to make is that we are a long ways from understanding and treating addiction, specifically that of meth addicts. But an underlying point that one could take away is that Adderall is dangerous, not only chemically, but also by way of it’s cunning acceptance into our mainstream society. It is important to understand that this isn’t to say some people might not benefit from the use of Adderall, but it is to say we’ve entered a time where Adderall is problematic (unrecognized as so).


Swayed by this messaging, the public remains almost entirely ignorant of the fact that methamphetamine produces nearly identical effects to those produced by the popular ADHD medication d-amphetamine (dextroamphetamine). You probably know it as Adderall®: a combination of amphetamine and d-amphetamine mixed salts.

Hart’s article is a must read if you know some who “recreationally” uses Adderall. And it’s a great read for anyone wanting a fresh perspective on meth addiction. We have a long ways to go. I highly suggest everyone give his column a read. Also, check out my article from last week about the Adderall phenomenon (here).

Photo by Tony Webster