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Professional Athletes Using Adderall

Prescription Drug Abuse
Professional Athletes Using Adderall

Professional Athletes Using Adderall

During the last week of November 2012, the news broke that two players in the National Football League (NFL) had been issued suspensions because they tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The drug in question was not a drug that many people automatically associate with performance enhancement, but it is a drug that has recently grown in popularity with professional athletes across many sports. The drug is Adderall.

Adderall is the common brand name of a type of amphetamine drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) The drug works as a psycho stimulant, helping individuals with ADHD to contain their energy and focus on productive tasks. Certain formulations of Adderall are also appropriate for the treatment of narcolepsy. The drug must be obtained via legal prescription following a diagnosis.A Growing Trend of Prescription Drug AbuseAlthough Adderall is widely prescribed for both adults and children, the drug does have common side effects and poses risks when used improperly. Since achieving great success as an official prescription tool, Adderall has also become part of a rapidly growing nation-wide problem with prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drugs as a single unit are now the most commonly abused controlled substance in the United States after marijuana. Within the category of prescription drugs, the most commonly abused medications are stimulants, opioids, and central nervous system depressants. Of these prescription drugs, stimulants like Adderall are by far the most commonly abused by athletes seeking a competitive edge.

Recent Adderall Revelations

The recent story featuring a pair of professional football players has focused a bright spotlight on what has been a fairly quiet phenomenon for the past several years. The story revealed the drug-related suspensions of cornerback Eric Wright, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham, who plays for the New England Patriots. While the NFL does not officially release the name of the substances for which players have tested positive, the news media has linked the two players with the use of Adderall.

Whether or not these reports are true, the NFL has gone so far as to confirm that failed tests for amphetamines have grown over the past year. Although 2012 is not yet over, the numbers already show a 75 percent increase in the number of players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs during 2011. The numbers are the highest they have been since mandatory testing was introduced in 1989, and amphetamines are almost certainly responsible for much of that increase.

Legitimate Use of Adderall

Adderall is a banned substance in all other professional sports in the United States as well as in international competitions such as the Olympics. Nevertheless, NFL players may seek exceptions if they have been diagnosed with ADHD or a legitimate condition for which Adderall has been prescribed. This is not the case for all performance enhancing drugs, many of which are banned without exception.

Legitimate cases of ADHD for which the proper waiver was not obtained may account for some of the positive Adderall tests. New York Giants safety, Will Hill, who was suspended in October 2012, has said that he began to take Adderall for ADHD that he has had since adolescence without realizing that it was a banned substance.

It is also possible, some experts believe, that players with positive tests are claiming to have taken Adderall in order to conceal steroid use. Steroid use in the NFL currently carries a much larger penalty than the use of stimulants.

The Competitive Advantages of Adderall

Stimulants like Adderall have a different effect on individuals who do not suffer from ADHD than they do on those who have the disorder. Adderall helps to calm the energy of hyperactive patients, and give those with an attention deficit the ability to focus. However, the drug increases the energy and alertness of people who do not have ADHD. It can also allow them to focus with an almost preternatural intensity-a sensation that has been described as akin to having mental blinders on.

Adderall can be used for an energy boost during training when players are physically exhausted. Like caffeine, but much more powerful, it provides a burst of energy and mood elevation. Adderall may also be used to improve focus during training or games when players need to remain zeroed-in on certain players and movements.


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