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The Need for Speed

Everybody pays attention when our favorite focus drug, Adderall, suddenly vanishes.

by Kelly Bourdet
Feb 16 2012, 2:40pm

Last May, Stephanie Lee couldn’t find a pharmacy in Atlanta that stocked Adderall, the prescription drug cocktail of amphetamine salts that helps her treat her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. She called her local pharmacy. All amphetamine salts, as well as generic, extended release Adderall XR were nowhere to be found, thanks to a limit set on the amount of amphetamines produced every year by the federal government.

Luckily, Stephanie’s insurance covered name-brand Adderall XR, so she was still intermittently able to get her prescription filled. At one point, she was trading some XR pills with her sister-in-law for amphetamine salts because pharmacies were all out. Another time, she went a month and a half without any medication at all. Signs started popping up at pharmacies saying, “No Adderall available until 2012.”

When the shortage began, Stephanie had just begun a new job. I asked her how she functioned without her medication. She compared concentrating off of Adderall to the feeling of “someone who used to be super thin and fit who gains a ton of weight and then tries to run a marathon. Only imagine the weight gain happening overnight. You’re like, ‘Fuck! I just did this yesterday! Why is it so much harder now?’”

Today, Adderall is only legal in the United States and Canada. Currently there’s a massive shortage of it in the U.S., leaving many ADHD sufferers like Stephanie without access to medication and leaving others stuck paying for higher-priced alternatives.

Read the rest at Motherboard.