NEWS: Amphetamine Use Affecting New Demographic


Sober Recovery Expert Author

Amphetamines are synthetic, prescription stimulants that when used under medical supervision can be beneficial for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other serious ailments. Although there are legitimate medical purposes for the use of these drugs, misuse and overuse can lead to physical and psychological addiction.

Excessive amphetamine can be easily hidden from friends, family and business colleagues. These drugs are relatively inexpensive (often referred to as the "poor man's cocaine”), they have no scent or odor and they are usually snorted to increase energy, concentration and effort. Criminal nomenclatures of amphetamines include “bennies,” “speed” and “uppers.” Unfortunately, long-term unlawful use of these substances has grim, even deadly, side effects.

And they might be using it to keep their jobs.

Shedding New Light

Now, new data exposes a previously unidentified demographic abusing amphetamines—individuals in physically demanding, manual labor jobs. These people may be engaging in illegal amphetamine use so to maintain stamina and energy throughout their grueling and strenuous working hours.

Investigators who interviewed 55 amphetamine users were surprised by these unexpected findings.

After a complete analysis of the data the authors stated, "The most striking thing in our study was how ‘normal’ many of the users were…Amphetamines [are] used by fairly conventional groups, with mainstream social values. It is a hazardous substance that is often used by ordinary people.”

The laborers who engaged in amphetamine use in this current investigation were described as “workers in a small business, in tough competition for contracts to work more efficiently, take on extra shifts or to get assignments completed on time. Several were introduced to the substance by their workmates.”

Some of the unforeseen quotes from the participants embracing the illegal use of these substances include the following explanations:

  • "I love working. Amphetamine use is about working harder and keeping the tempo up. I worked extremely effectively."
  • "When I use amphetamines, I can take on two extra jobs. I work and work, unable to say no. And I think: I just have to finish it. It helps to use a little amphetamine."
  • A painter explained he snorted amphetamine in the morning before work and during the lunch break at noon, to be effective and work as quickly as possible.

Long-Term Effects

As with most addictive substances, tolerance of the drug develops after a relatively short period of time. As a result, amphetamine abusers begin to inject the stimulant to increase the effectiveness. This change in how the drug is administered usually results in significant negative side effects and grave outcomes. For example, the researchers found that workers who took this drug use to the next level “could not sleep and lost their appetites.”

For individuals employed in manual, blue-collar type work such as movers, construction personnel and others, this research sheds light on a new population of potential addicts. These daily workers may use and even depend on amphetamines just to maintain their position and increase their performance. The treatment for this group and their battle for sobriety may require unique and different approaches than other addicts since these employees perceive their livelihood to being contingent on the speed of job performance.

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