The promise (and betrayal) of Adderall
When soldiers came home addicted to amphetamines, their wives were the nation’s next good soldiers. They sucked down amphetamines to wage war on bodies—their own.
SPEED HAS TRIPPED the light fantastic in America for more than 85 years. From Ritalin and Adderall to the twice-methylated Breaking Bad stuff, speed seduces both overbright founders and scurvy garage-dwellers. But it’s not the drug for right now. Speed is not only deadly; it’s defeatist.
When the writer Casey Schwartz gave up Adderall after having it define her youth, she identified deep regrets: “I had spent years of my life in a state of false intensity, always wondering if I should be somewhere else, working harder, achieving more.” America is plenty intense—and it requires more freethinking from its citizens now than ever. As grandiose as Adderall makes some people feel, the history of amphetamine as a drug of subjugation—used to compel obedience in soldiers, dieters, and unruly kids—haunts it.
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