College Student Dies from Snorting Adderall

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center  |  Normandy, TN

Table of Contents

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a powerful central nervous system stimulant made by combining stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. As classified by the Controlled Substance Act, snorting Adderall is a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs are marked by their high potential for addiction and abuse, although they are still permitted in medical settings.

What is Adderall Used to Treat?

Physicians often prescribe Adderall for narcolepsy. However, Adderall is known best for providing relief to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

For people with ADHD, Adderall’s effect as a central nervous system stimulant increases their brain’s production of dopamine and norepinephrine. People with ADHD often experience low impulse control, hyperactivity, and difficulty concentrating due to low dopamine production. When prescribed Adderall, dopamine and norepinephrine levels increase to standard levels and reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Adderall comes in two forms: immediate-release pills and extended-release pills. As the names suggest, immediate-release pills – simply called Adderall – act more quickly, lasting 4-6 hours. Extended-release pills – named Adderall RX – require a bit more time to take effect but last the entire day.

The only legal use of Adderall is by prescription from a physician. In recent years, however, Adderall has grown in popularity as a “study drug,” with a reputation for helping those without ADHD – often students – concentrate and pull all-nighters. Some may also misuse Adderall as a weight loss aid.

What Happens When You Snort Adderall?

Adderall is manufactured as a pill and prescribed by physicians for oral ingestion. However, with rising Adderall abuse, many who abuse Adderall have begun snorting the drug instead.

When consumed orally, Adderall passes through the GI tract, where its chemical components (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) are steadily absorbed and released into the bloodstream.

Can Snorting Adderall Lead to an Overdose?

When snorted, Adderall is immediately absorbed into the sinus’s mucus membranes, quickly releasing a massive rush of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This immediate absorption leads to a feeling of euphoria within minutes and long-lasting effects of increased concentration, excitement, and feeling energized. 

It is the immediacy of delivering the effects of Adderall that make snorting so dangerous. When people crush up long-acting Adderall RX, they deliver the entirety of a drug created to release in small doses for a full day. For this reason, it is easy to overdose on Adderall. 

Side Effects of Snorting Adderall

Aside from increasing your risk of overdose, snorting Adderall carries the additional downsides of:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Aggression
  • Mania
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Motor or Verbal Tics
  • Suicidal Ideation

Additionally, snorting Adderall can lead to long-term damage of the sinuses, sometimes resulting in permanent loss of smell and an ability to produce mucus that protects the sinuses.

Adderall Abuse in Students

what is adderall used to treat brooks healing center

Adderall use has risen in popularity, particularly amongst college students. Seeing it as a drug that improves focus, energy, and sociability, many forget the adverse side effects of Adderall abuse. It should be noted that any use of Adderall outside its prescription is considered abuse and is implicitly dangerous.

The dangers of Adderall abuse were cast into the national spotlight in 2018 when an 18-year old student from Texas A&M University died after an Adderall overdose. The student – Joseph Little – had been Adderall snorting to stay alert during long days balancing school with rushing a fraternity.1

Statistics on Adderall Abuse 

Unfortunately, Joseph Little is just one of the thousands who die from Adderall overdoses each year. A national study of prescription stimulant use across 10,000 U.S. college students found that 7% had abused “study drugs,” similar to Adderall. However, the abuse rate varied between colleges, with the abuse rate of some student populations as high as 33%.2

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that between 2005 and 2010, the amount of ADHD-stimulant medication emergency department (ED) visits rose dramatically from 13,379 to 31,244. In addition, the number of ED visits involving ADHD stimulant medications and non-medical use also increased from 5,212 to a staggering 15,585.3

Additionally, over 11.7 million Americans in 2014 self-reported using Adderall for recreational or non-medical purposes. Of that 11.7 million, 4.8 million of those respondents were between the ages of 18 and 25.4

With the popularity and misinformation surrounding the dangers of Adderall abuse increasing year after year, it is vital to learn the signs of Adderall addiction and abuse.

Adderall Side Effects and Signs of Abuse

Adderall abuse includes any use not explicitly prescribed by a physician. Many who take Adderall without a prescription are seeking the well-known “positive” effects of the drug. 

“Positive” Side Effects of Adderall:

  • Improved concentration
  • Ability to focus for extended periods
  • Improved sociability
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Feeling energized
  • Feeling healthy and strong
  • Wanting to work
  • Feeling excited
  • Thinking more than usual
  • Receiving revelations about the meaning of life
  • Feeling anxious, worried, or impatient

However, these “positives” are quickly offset by other immediate adverse side effects of Adderall abuse.

Short-term Adderall Side Effects:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Issues with sleep
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Shifts in sexual habits or interests

Long-term Adderall Side Effects:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Respiratory issues (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
  • Slowed speech
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular or verbal tics
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Blistering of skin, swelling of face, eyes, throat, or tongue
  • Skin rashes and extreme itching
  • Changes in vision, feeling dizzy

Signs that Someone is Snorting Adderall

what happens when you snort adderall brooks healing center

If you believe someone you know and love is snorting Adderall, knowing what to look out for can help.

Signs of Adderall snorting can include:

  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Paranoia
  • Increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Issues getting good sleep
  • Nasal issues including nose bleeds

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

If ingested orally, Adderall side effects typically present within 30 minutes, instead of immediately with Adderall snorting. The amount of time Adderall’s effects last depends on the type of pill, with Adderall pills lasting 4-6 hours and Adderall XR lasting around 10 hours.

Regardless of how long the effects last, Adderall has a half-life of roughly 13 hours. This factor means it takes about 13 hours on average for our bodies to remove half the amount of Adderall in their systems.5

The half-life varies depending on several factors (frequency of use, dosage, pH in urine, kidney or liver dysfunction, physical makeup). On average, it generally takes a little over a day to remove all Adderall from the body.

The Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Going “cold turkey” and stopping Adderall use can lead to numerous withdrawal symptoms that typically set in within the first hours or days. Withdrawal symptoms tend to persist for a further 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, recent research suggests that even after making it through Adderall withdrawal, many with Adderall addiction relapse within four weeks of quitting.6

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:

  • Depression and exhaustion
  • Anhedonia (lack of enjoyment)
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Increased lethargy
  • Vivid dreams
  • Increased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Slowed movements
  • Decreased heart rate

Adderall Overdose

With hospitals experiencing increases in Adderall overdoses each year, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with the telltale signs. And as Adderall snorting becomes more popular, the number is likely to continue rising.

Signs of an Adderall overdose include:

  • Seizures
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fever
  • Psychosis
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke 
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment for Adderall Addiction

Treatment for Adderall addiction largely rests on a mix of therapeutic tools. Medical professionals frequently use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients rewire thought patterns and instill healthier habits for coping with triggering emotions and events. Another therapy widely used for Adderall addiction is contingency management, which rewards good behavior with motivating incentives to stay clean.7


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Gina Bowman

Executive Assistant

Gina Bowman is the Executive Assistant at Brooks Healing Center. She was born in Florida but resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband, Tyler Bowman, and two daughters Charlotte and Isabella.

Gina is a friendly, loyal, and dedicated individual. She has a heart for helping others and understands the effects of addiction and the toll it can take on families. She is the one that helps make things happen behind the scenes and brings fun ideas to Brooks Healing Center as well as keeping things organized. 

Colleen Bradford, MBA, BA-MHR

Executive Director, Human Resources Director

Colleen Believes servitude towards others provides a solid foundation for personal and professional growth. She is a calm problem solver who juggles multiple situations simultaneously and works confidently and efficiently in even the most challenging, fast-paced environments. She is highly regarded for her consistent ability to apply sound judgment, emotional intelligence, and etiquette to sensitive, confidential, and unpredictable situations. She is an organized, professional, resourceful, and seasoned healthcare professional with diverse skills for boosting organizational productivity and quality of care initiatives.

Colleen has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration with a minor in health care administration from Trevecca Nazarene University. She has been married for 32 years to Doyle Bradford, and they have two sons, Thomas and Allen Bradford, along with two grandchildren, Ben and Faith Bradford. She is excited to have this unique opportunity to serve her community. She is a phenomenal cookie baker and mother figure to those at the Brooks Healing Center. We are honored to have her be a part of our vision. 

Frank Throneberry

Co-Founder and COO

Frank is a lifelong 7th generation native of Middle Tennessee. Frank cares for his local community and keeping Tennessee healthy, knowing that people all over the USA seek out his home state’s friendly and outdoor atmosphere. He is a hardworking and energetic person that is no stranger to going out of his way to help others.

Frank started his recovery from alcohol and substance abuse over seven years ago. He is continually working on a recovery program and became passionate about sharing his story, helping others, and supporting others to find freedom from their addiction. He also formerly owned and managed ‘recovery community’ homes where he walked with and encouraged many individuals in their journey. Frank’s servant attitude is what helps him listen, understand, and put others’ needs first.

Outside of his career, Frank cherishes his time with his wife, Maribeth, and his three children: Jackson, Piper, and Charlie. They enjoy the great outdoors on their family farm in Shelbyville, TN, and boating and fishing with family on Tim’s Ford Lake. He is a dedicated husband and father. 

James “Tyler” Bowman

Founder and CEO

Tyler is the heart of the Brooks Healing Center. His vision is to guide others to find their own recovery and to thrive in life. Tyler was fortunate to have lived through his addiction and now finds fulfillment in serving others. Tyler has worked in the substance abuse field for over five years and felt convicted to build a place where individuals are loved until they can learn to love themselves.  

Tyler has the love and support of his family as he continues to provide care to those who have lost themselves along the way. Tyler is the father of two daughters, Charlotte, his oldest, and Isabella, his youngest. Tyler’s wife, Gina, supports the Brooks Healing Center’s vision, and she shares his passion for helping others as well.  

Tyler has a story to tell and is willing to share his experiences, good or bad, with anyone. Brooks Healing Center is the way he gives back for all he took when he was using. For the past seven years, Tyler has gone beyond to share his recovery and is thriving in life.