Source: Urban Intellectuals
The over use of drugs to treat kids problems in the USA (and growing the world over) has never sat well with me and now this information from an esteemed Neuroscientist leaves me feeling even more confused over the idea.
Columbia University psychiatry professor Dr. Carl L. Hart. wrote a piece on Vice, partnered with the Influence detailing his experimental use of both Meth and his research into the topic.
However the article isn’t quite what you think. We’ve all seen the reported effects of Meth and we have all judged meth-heads but according to this doctor there is much more too it.
He isn’t advocating taking meth of ADHD drugs at all BUT he is saying we should be aware of what it is, it’s a very interesting read, below is an excerpt, I seriously suggest you read the article in it’s entirety here.
Perhaps it has something to do with public “educational” campaigns aimed at discouraging methamphetamine use. These campaigns usually show, in graphic and horrifying detail, some poor young person who uses the drug for the first time and then ends up engaging in uncharacteristic acts such as prostitution, stealing from parents, or assaulting strangers for money to buy the drug. At the end of the advertisement, emblazoned on the screen, is: “Meth—not even once.” We’ve also seen those infamous “meth mouth” images (extreme tooth decay), wrongly presented as a direct consequence of methamphetamine use.
These types of media campaigns neither prevent nor decrease the use of the drug; nor do they provide any real facts about the effects of meth. They succeed only in perpetuating false assumptions.
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.
Yeah, I know. This statement requires some defense.
This is not to suggest that people who are currently prescribed Adderall should discontinue its use for fear of inevitable ruinous addiction, but instead that we should view methamphetamine rather more like we view d-amphetamine. Remember that methamphetamine and d-amphetamine are both FDA-approved medications to treat ADHD. In addition, methamphetamine is approved to treat obesity and d-amphetamine to treat narcolepsy.
In the interest of full disclosure, I too once believed that methamphetamine was far more dangerous than d-amphetamine, despite the fact that the chemical structure of the two drugs is nearly identical. In the late 1990s, when I was a PhD student, I was told—and I fully believed—that the addition of the methyl group to methamphetamine made it more lipid-soluble (translation: able to enter the brain more rapidly) and therefore more addictive than d-amphetamine.
It wasn’t until several years after graduate school that this belief was shattered by evidence—not only from my own research, but also by results from research conducted by other scientists.
In our study, we brought 13 men who regularly used methamphetamine into the lab. We gave each of them a hit of methamphetamine, of d-amphetamine, or of placebo on separate days under double-blind conditions. We repeated this many times with each person over several days and multiple doses of each drug.
Like d-amphetamine, methamphetamine increased our subjects’ energy and enhanced their ability to focus and concentrate; it also reduced subjective feelings of tiredness and the cognitive disruptions typically brought about by fatigue and/or sleep deprivation. Both drugs increased blood pressure and the rate at which the heart beat. No doubt these are the effects that justify the continued use of d-amphetamine by several nations’ militaries, including our own.
For the record, I still strongly believe kids should be only given these kinds of drugs as a very very last resort and in limited quantities.