Prescription Drug Abuse


Stimulants, sometimes called “uppers,” temporarily increase alertness and energy. The most commonly used street drugs that fall into this category are cocaine and amphetamines.

Prescription stimulants come in tablets or capsules. When abused, they are swallowed, injected in liquid form or crushed and snorted.


The short-term effects of stimulants include exhaustion, apathy and depression—the “down” that follows the “up.” It is this immediate and lasting exhaustion that quickly leads the stimulant user to want the drug again. Soon he is not trying to get “high,” he is only trying to get “well”—to feel any energy at all.


Stimulants can be addictive. Repeated high doses of some stimulants over a short period can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia. Such doses may also result in dangerously high body temperatures and an irregular heartbeat.


For more information about the abuse of prescription stimulants, see The Truth About Ritalin Abuse.


BRAND NAMES Ritalin Concerta Biphetamine Dexedrine STREET NAMES R-ball Skippy The smart drug Vitamin R JIF Kibbles and bits Speed Truck drivers Bennies Black beauties Crosses Hearts LA turnaround Uppers


  1. “Drug Scheduling,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  2. “Selected Prescription Drugs with Potential for Abuse,” National Institute on Drug Abuse
  3. International Narcotics Control Board
  4. Office of Drug Control Policy
  5. “Prescription Sedatives & Tranquilizers,” Partnership for
    a Drug-Free America
  6. Statement by Leonard J. Paulozzi before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crimes and Drugs, 12 March 2008
  7. Center for Substance Abuse Research
  8. National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2007
  9. Suicidality, violence and mania caused by SSRIs: A review and analysis, P. Breggin.
  10. “Depressants,” US Department of Health & Human Services and SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information
  11. “Prescription drugs a gateway for teen drug abuse,” Houston Chronicle, 4 September 2008