More harmful than tobacco? Maybe in high, short term doses. But not low dose chronic use.

I took one 40 mg Vyvanse (lisdextramfetamine) capsule at 2 pm today as prescribed by my psychiatrist; I drank one large coffee from Dunkin and one sugar free AMP energy drink throughout the day. I was energetic, sociable, and I had a clear mind. A mild form of being “high” on this combination of stimulants by some legal and psychological definitions, you could end up in drug court without a prescription for the Vyvanse. Did all of my Christmas shopping in under 6 hours. Went to the bar with my friends, had 3 drinks. Had a great time without even catching a buzz. Still going strong, no longer “high.” Just awake. I haven’t had a major mood swing all day. The only bad thing is that it’s closing in on  6 am and I can’t sleep.

At the bar, I was still “high” by the aforementioned definitions. No one knew. I mean, who would? I might have been a little more talkative than normal, but that comes with alcohol too. I was sitting still, making eye contact and holding an intelligent conversation. Most importantly, I wasn’t checking my phone every 2 seconds like 90% of Americans my age do.  I was euphoric, but not because of the alcohol. I operated a vehicle without issue and I was probably even better at driving due to my increased wakefulness and focus (in no way do I encourage drinking and driving, but I think 3 drinks over 2 hours is pretty damn safe).

The euphoria associated with Vyvanse or any other amphetamine (I’m not including include methamphetamine, that’s a whole different animal from what I’m talking about) is often the only criteria needed to deem someone “high.” For a person with a mood disorder like me, one who is experiencing some level of depression 90% of the time, how do I know that euphoria isn’t what normal, happy people feel? Subjectively, meaning from my own perspective, I was high based on how I normally feel.  For a person without a mood disorder, what do they feel, subjectively? Do they feel what I do, or does their normal happy state increase even more, to an even more enhanced sense of euphoria and an increase in their focus? For an extrovert, are they even more sociable than normal? Is there a way to view the effects of not just this drug, but any drug objectively rather than subjectively? I doubt it. Only the person under the influence truly knows how the drug effects him. Personal perceptions of reality can’t be quantized like heart rate can. If my normal mood isn’t the same as yours, my mood on the same dose of the same drug cannot possibly be the same as yours.

Vyvanse is prescribed for ADHD and works on the brain the same way as Adderall but is chemically designed to last longer and much harder to abuse. It is currently being studies clinically for treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (I was prescribed it during a Major Depressive phase), certain aspects of Schizophrenia, people with binge eating disorders and excess fatigue.

Like any amphetamine, Vyvanse increases wakefullness and attention while it decreases appetite. I’ve never experienced any negative side effects, and neither has anyone else I know of that has taken it, prescribed or not. Many of my classmates take it to study, and some take it to party. When taken as prescribed (basically in low, healthy doses) Vyvanse also has a low risk for dependency compared to other amphetamine.

This drug has helped me tremendously. To me I’m high, but to most I’m just normal. I’m not impaired in any way, I’m just functioning as I should and that is what the pill is meant for. When I’m in a hypomanic episode, I don’t need the stuff. But most days I do.

I think Vyvanse has a lot of potential if it can be prescribed to the right people. If humans weren’t so goddamn selfish and indulging pure amphetamine could be useful to society. Unfortunately, people have abused it in its current prescription form as recreational drug, which is why it is a Schedule II drug in the United States.

In a perfect world, I would want to see amphetamines treated the way marijuana is in most states. Decriminalize it up to a certain amount. Make the possession of a few Adderall a traffic ticket, not a crime. While being slightly more harmful than alcohol physically, amphetamines carry a lower risk for dependence (again, not counting methamphetamine–I would never want to see that decriminalized or legalized).  If we could learn to control ourselves, it could greatly benefit our society in many ways.

Who am I kidding? Amphetamine is a bad word in America; it’s stigmatized just like, and partially due to, meth (which is actually available as a prescription, but dangerous as a street drug). I don’t want to see it treated like pot. Not in this grossly imperfect world we live in.

I guess I just want everyone to know that there are some of us who DO use amphetamines to get high, though it’s just not your definition of high. In my case, it’s legal. It stabilizes my mood and negates my ADHD. It helps me function just like the rest of you, you judgmental fucks.

On a side note, I’m happy the world hasn’t ended! Fucking Mayans.