Club Drugs (cont.)
Ephedrine: Ephedrine is a stimulant similar to amphetamine and is found naturally in the Chinese herbal medicine "ma-huang" and in "Mormon's tea." College students and truck drivers use it for its stimulant effect. Incorrectly viewed as a safe alternative to amphetamines, this "herbal ecstasy" has been associated with strokes and deaths in adolescents.
Ritalin: Ritalin (generic name, methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant known on the street as vitamin R, R-ball, and skippy. This drug is used to manage attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Stimulants are the primary drugs used in treatment of this disorder and are effective 90% of the time. In the 1990s, the prevalence of methylphenidate use increased by 250% compared to the 1980s, but its use has somewhat declined in the past
- What it looks like: Ritalin is a very difficult drug to make on the street, so users get Ritalin by taking prescriptions for medication written for others. Available in 5-, 10-, and 20-mg immediate-release tablets, the effects of Ritalin last up to
four hours. Ritalin 20-mg, sustained-release tablets and Concerta (generic name, methylphenidate) 18-, 36-, and 54-mg extended-release tablets are used illegally on the street and sell for about $5. The legitimate wholesale price is about $0.28 to $1.03 per tablet.
- What it does: When used as prescribed, Ritalin reduces hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness. On the street, the drug is used by crushing the tablet and snorting the powder through the nose or by crushing the tablets and dissolving the powder in water before injecting it. Both routes produce euphoria similar to that of cocaine. It is usually taken orally to stay awake.
- Harmful effects: These include palpitations, hallucinations, paranoia, fainting, agitation, dizziness, seizures, tremors, fever, sweating, chest pain and irregular heartbeats, liver dysfunction, and death. Chronic use can result in withdrawal, which produces symptoms such as lethargy, paranoia, apathy, and depression. These symptoms are similar to those of amphetamine (speed) withdrawal.
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