Pharmaceutical medication abuses are rampant in the United States. Pharma's concoctions combined with mega advertising campaigns and liberally-prescribing doctors have placed our society on the brink of mental dystopian.

We have so many prescription drug issues in our country that we can't even properly keep up with all of the problems. We know that opioids are a major problem. We somewhat understand that SSRI's aren't good. Maybe we heard that certain heartburn medications, such as Pepcid, aren't good either. The sheer volume of issues has weighed us down. We don't even know where to begin to solve it.

And that's why often, the tragic epidemic of Adderall, is overlooked.

College in the 60's and 70's was known to be breeding grounds for marijuana use. This continued throughout the 90's. But in the 90's, things began to change. Long study hours (sometimes a result of student procrastination and other times a result of overzealous professors) ushered in a time of accelerated caffeine use. Coffee, always a staple on campuses, had reinvented itself: Cappuccinos and Lattes and Espressos were commonly ingested as a way to survive long, last-minute studying sessions. Also, energy drinks were being introduced.

In 1995, Pepsi introduced Jolt Cola. It was the first energy drink to hit the market, but it certainly wouldn't be the last. Also, another chemical had also made its way into the socio-culture of college campuses: Ephedrine. Ephedrine, a form of speed, stimulated energy in the brain. For some, it helped them study into the late night hours. For others, it resulted in headaches, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations and even hallucinations. Ephedrine in the 90's was commonly purchased at truck stops and gas stations in so-called "energy pills."

Since 2002, we've seen Monster Energy Drinks and Redbull becomes staples of the energy drink market. We've also seen them become the subjects of massive condemnation. France originally refused to approve Red Bull following the death of a prominent athlete. The athlete, who was of Irish descent, died while playing basketball after ingesting four Red Bulls. However in 2004 Red Bull was able to get the decision overturned.

Ephedrine succumbs to an even worse fate. By only 1997, the FDA was on ephedra's case (ephedra is the herb of which ephedrine is made), imposing allowable limits. This was overturned, and more court cases played out (and were overturned), however by August of 2006, ephedra was banned from dietary supplements altogether.

The FDA had made its presence known that energy drink makers and ephedra-including supplements weren't going to live on easy street. So it would only seem reasonable to assume that Adderall's recent takeover of college campuses would be a big deal to the public and health officials, right?

Hint: The answer is that it isn't.

Adderall has squeezed through the murky crevices to become a college drug footnote. Adderall is so rampant on college campuses that you almost assume other students to be users. According to CNN, about 30 percent of students use the drug for non-medical purposes.

You might be curious as to how students can get their hands on this prescription drug, right? They get it from their doctors. Adderall prescriptions are handed out like cotton candy at your local fairgrounds in the summer. If you can't focus, you can get Adderall. Some college students get the drug and then resell it.

The pitch is simple: Adderall can help you focus, study, memorize and become a superhuman study (that's the pitch, of course).

This Adderall Addiction Documentary features students who share their reasonings for taking the pill regularly.

"Can you not focus in class? You have ADHD" one of the students confesses, exposing the sad truth experienced during a doctor's visit at 15-years old.

According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:

Recent media reports underscore the massive surge in the prescribing of prescription stimulants to our nation's children. Combine the existing daily damage from prescription opioid abuse together with a range of other medicines that are abused, and we have created this crisis.
The key components of the above statements are both that the "media underscores the massive surge" and that it is a "crisis." When you review the history of ephedra and energy drinks, you almost wonder how Adderall has escaped the clutches of public scorn and strict regulations.

And then you enter the long arm of Pharma. When this happens, Adderall suddenly becomes a treatment. And this "treatment" has become next to impossible to stop. The epidemic is growing, and while public sentiment has become a bit more scorned by the idea of Adderall, it hasn't done much in the way to stop the problem.

Adderall, in fact, is used in pop culture in almost acceptable, comical ways. Check out this scene from HBO's Silicon Valley.

ADHD has become a thoroughfare for Adderall infestation all over the country. I don't want to argue the full merits of ADHD as a particular condition; I will, however, say that "inability to concentrate" could easily be linked to such things as refined sugar intake and soda consumption. I'm going to assume that most doctors who are frequently prescribing Adderall aren't suggesting any dietary changes before writing the prescription.

Comment: Adderall: Popular drug for ADHD has serious side effects- including memory loss & brain damage
Today the $4 billion ADD drug industry is about ten times its 1996 size, and Adderall is the reigning market leader.

The side-effects of Adderall are rather extreme and brutal, according to
Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts) is used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Side effects of Adderall include nervousness, restlessness, excitability, dizziness, headache, fear, anxiety, agitation, tremor, weakness, blurred vision, sleep problems (insomnia), dry mouth or unpleasant taste in the mouth, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain nausea, vomiting, fever, hair loss, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Blood pressure and heart rate may increase, and patients may experience heart palpitations. Adderall is habit forming, and chronic use may lead to dependence.
The concluding portion which says that Adderall is habit-forming and may lead to dependence is important. You don't hear that discussed much at all. But the fact is, it is a highly addictive and toxic drug.

Adderall's free social and regulation passes allow it to fast track into future generations. Its disguise as that of treatment allows it to prosper. It's the perfect formula for what may become the largest drug epidemic of our time. It's happening right underneath of our noses and we're completely missing it.