Know the facts, connect with resources, and get one-on-one support to help you address known or suspected misuse of Adderall use with your child.

What is Adderall?
Adderall, the trade name for a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, is a medication prescribed for children, teens and adults with an abnormally high level of activity or with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It stimulates the central nervous system, with effects similar to but less potent than amphetamines and more potent than caffeine.

Adderall has a notably calming effect on hyperactive children and a “focusing” effect on those with ADHD. When taken as prescribed, Adderall is a valuable medicine. Research has shown that people with ADHD do not get addicted to their stimulant medications at dosages prescribed to them by their doctor. Because of their stimulant properties, however, Adderall and other stimulant medications are misused by some people for whom they are not prescribed.1

signs of Adderall use:
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes and itching
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive problems
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What are some slang terms for Adderall?
Beans, black beauties, dexies, pep pills, speed, and uppers

What does Adderall look like?
Adderall comes in pill, capsule or tablet form.

How is Adderall used?
Adderall is taken orally. Some people who misuse Adderall crush the drug and snort or inject it.2

What do young people hear about Adderall?
Some students hear that Adderall can can help them focus and perform academically, and think of it as a ‘study drug.’ Many teens and young adults are under the mistaken impression that because prescription stimulants such as Adderall came from a doctor that they are safe or safer than ‘street drugs.’

What are the risks of Adderall use?
It is dangerous for anyone to take prescription stimulants not prescribed to them. Short-term effects can include nervousness and insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, changes in heart rate and blood pressure (usually elevation of both, but occasionally depression), skin rashes and itching, abdominal pain, weight loss, and digestive problems, psychotic episodes, drug dependence and severe depression upon withdrawal.

High doses of stimulants cause loss of appetite (which may cause serious malnutrition), tremors and muscle twitching, fevers, convulsions, headaches, irregular heartbeat and breathing (which can be life-threatening), anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks, and the sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin.3

1NIDA. “Prescription Medicines.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
2DEA. “Aphetamines.” Drug Enforcement Agency. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
3Drugs of Abuse | A DEA Resource Guide: 2017 Edition. “Amphetamines.” Drug Enforcement Agency, 2017. Web. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); U.S. National Library of Medicine; Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Reviewed & Updated: August 15, 2018

Next Steps

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?