Adderall and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

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 9:34 PM, October 26th, 2016
Picture of adderall and alcohol use

On a summer night, Josh Levine collapsed after mixing Adderall and alcohol. Josh first inhaled ground-up Adderall, and then drank enough alcohol to stop his heart. Doctors prescribe Adderall, a type of amphetamine, commonly for those who have Attention Deficit Disorder.

Among college students, Adderall is often misused and abused as a “study buddy,” allowing students to stay up later to cram for exams. More recently, as reported by Shawn Windsor, it has become “prized for… its euphoric high, speed-like jot and, most deviously, its ability to trick the body during alcohol consumption, so that you can binge, and then binge some more.”

Josh had graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a degree in sports management, and he combined Adderall and alcohol to party on a Saturday night in July of 2014.

Josh was in Chicago and  found on a sidewalk in the morning with no wallet (it had been stolen). His cell phone had been left at the party where he started drinking. His brother, Andrew, was also in Chicago, but it took hours to find Josh. “By the time his mother arrived from Cincinnati, Josh lay motionless in intensive care, a machine pumping air into his lungs.” They were unable to revive him, and they pulled the ventilator the following day. Josh Levine was 22.

prized for… its euphoric high, speed-like jot and, most deviously, its ability to trick the body during alcohol consumption, so that you can binge, and then binge some more.

Adderall and alcohol is an especially deadly combination. Adolescent Substance Abuse Programs, Inc. encourages everyone who does not have a medical need for its use to stop using Adderall. It can be dangerous on its own, but it is especially deadly in combination with alcohol.

ADHD Stimulant Medications have resulted in increasing Emergency Department (ED) visits. The figure below is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It shows the significant increase in ED trips, especially among those aged 18-25. Half of all visits occurred due to non medical use, rather than adverse reactions, accidental ingestions, or suicide attempts.

Adderall and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination; This chart shows the increase in Emergency Department visits for Adderall comparing 2005 to 2010 for various age groups.

Emergency Department (ED) Visits Related to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Stimulant Medications, by Age Group: 2005 and 2010

A Common and Concerning Problem

Parents and teens need to be aware that abuse of Adderall and other ADHD medications is on the rise. It is a very serious issue that affects many high school and college students. If you are concerned about someone you know who may be abusing Adderall, especially combined with alcohol, don’t hesitate to get help.

ASAP is here for adolescents 13-19. An adult program can be utilized for those older than 19.



ASAP is Cincinnati’s premiere outpatient treatment center for teenagers and their families struggling with substance use.


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