Snorting Adderall - Student Death Shows the Danger

Snorting Adderall is dangerous

Snorting Adderall - Student Death Shows the Danger

Table of Contents

What is Adderall?

On August 29, 2018, a Texas A&M freshman died due to strokes brought on by seizures — all as a result of snorting Adderall.1 This tragic event highlights the dangers of Adderall snorting and its prevalence on college campuses.

Typically prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant (amphetamine) that affects a person’s alertness and concentration.2 For people with attention disorders, Adderall helps with focus and decreases restlessness.

Adderall is also known as one of a few “study drugs.”3 Students take study drugs even when they have not been prescribed the medications, believing the drugs will enhance their focus, increase their stamina, and allow them to stay awake for longer periods. Other study drugs include amphetamines like Dexedrine or Vyvanse and methylphenidates like Ritalin or Concerta.

The Effects of Adderall on People Without ADD or ADHD

Unfortunately, many students are unaware of how dangerous the misuse of these drugs can be, especially for those who do not have ADD or ADHD. When a doctor prescribes Adderall for a client, they start with very low doses and slowly titration the medication up. Doctors monitor a client’s progress slowly, checking for side effects of Adderall and monitoring effectiveness. Taking Adderall without a doctor’s oversight can result in an Adderall addiction.

If taken without a doctor’s supervision, the following Adderall side effects can occur:

Heart failure

Heart failure






When used in excessive amounts, or through Adderall snorting, overdose can result in death.

Adderall Abuse in Students

A comprehensive study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found almost 10% of college students took Adderall routinely without a prescription.4 In 2018, the number increased to 11% of all college students. Studies show that male students were more likely to use Adderall, with 14% of males abusing the drug compared to 8.8% of females.5

College students, in comparison to their non-college peers (8.1%), had higher rates of Adderall abuse overall. Term papers, tests, jobs, and having a full social life can put pressure on students, leading them to believe that drugs are the key to good grades.6 Because stimulants like Adderall are widely prescribed for ADD and ADHD, students may obtain the drugs easily from their peers, presuming the drugs to be safe. Adderall abuse becomes tempting, offering a seemingly easy way to boost performance. Adderall snorting becomes an even quicker means to keep up with schoolwork.

What Happens When You Snort Adderall?

Classified as a Schedule II drug, Adderall has a high potential for misuse, abuse, and dependence. Adderall addiction occurs because the medication is an amphetamine.

The risks increase when Adderall is crushed and snorted. Adderall is formulated to be taken orally. By crushing and snorting Adderall, the potency of the drug increases. An average oral dose of Adderall, when snorted, is dangerous. Adderall snorting can result in significant negative side effects and may lead to addiction.

The following are a list of immediate side effects from snorting Adderall:

Through routine Adderall snorting, the following may occur:

Adderall is intended to be taken orally, as this greatly reduces the risks associated with it. Additionally, Adderall is only meant to be taken by those who suffer from ADHD or ADD symptoms.

Signs of Adderall Abuse

Despite its use as a treatment for attention deficit disorders, Adderall remains a risk for addiction. When used without a prescription or in higher doses than prescribed, the risk for addiction and severe side effects of Adderall increase.

The following are signs of possible Adderall abuse:7

In addition to these signs, snorting Adderall can cause the following signs:

Adderall is available as regular immediate-release and longer-lasting, extended-release forms. Typically, Adderall remains in the system for 4-6 hours, though Adderall XR May remains in the system much longer.7

Adderall Overdose

When using Adderall recreationally, young adults often take it with alcohol or other drugs. Unfortunately, Adderall effects as a stimulant can mask the dangerous side effects of other substances, leading to an overdose. Snorting Adderall adds another layer of risk for an overdose because snorting Adderall strengthens the drug’s potency. An Adderall overdose is an emergency event and requires immediate medical attention.

Signs of an Adderall overdose include:8

Rapid breathing

Stomach pains







Heart attack

Preventing Adderall Abuse

People using Adderall with a doctor’s prescription should take the drug as prescribed. Using more than the prescribed amount or taking someone else’s medication increases the chances of addiction.

Taking Adderall for a long period can lead to tolerance, where the body becomes used to a set dose is a drug. To combat tolerance, a person taking the prescribed dose may take tolerance breaks, if advised by a doctor. As an example, a person may take a few days to a week off of the medication to reduce tolerance.

Getting Help for Adderall Addiction

As with most amphetamines, overcoming Adderall addiction involves a careful detox and withdrawal process. To detox from this drug without complications, it’s important to avoid a “crash.”9 The Adderall crash occurs when someone who routinely takes excessive amounts stops the drug abruptly, causing sudden withdrawal. The crash includes unpleasant side effects like sluggishness, depression, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.

Other signs of an Adderall crash are:

A detox clinic or addiction treatment center can make the detox and withdrawal process less distressing. These facilities have trained staff and medical personnel on hand to ensure a safe and successful withdrawal to treat Adderall addiction. A physician may prescribe medications to make detox more tolerable and manage cravings. They may also observe clients for signs of depression and suicidal thoughts.

For many people, Adderall has changed their lives for the better. When used as a recreational or study drug, however, it can lead to a dangerous addiction.



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