Is Adderall a controlled substance? This is a common question a lot of people have, and below is more information about Adderall in general, what’s meant by the term controlled substance, and an answer to “is Adderall a controlled substance.”

Adderall is a prescription stimulant that’s a combination of two substances: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s available in an immediate and extended-release formulation, and its primary function is to help people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. It’s also sometimes prescribed to people with narcolepsy.

When a person with ADHD takes Adderall, it has somewhat of a calming effect on them, and this is largely because of how it affects the central nervous system and neurotransmitters in the brain. It can help someone with ADHD concentrate and focus more effectively, and it can also help them manage their behaviors. 

While Adderall is available by prescription, it’s also very commonly abused in the U.S. When someone doesn’t have ADHD, and they take it, the result is different. A person without ADHD who takes Adderall will find that they feel a type of high with it, although the effects can depend on how much is taken. Signs of being high on Adderall can include euphoria, a sense of excitement or energy, self-confidence, and optimism.

This all might sound great, but there are many risks of abusing Adderall. There are short-term effects of Adderall use that aren’t desirable and can include nausea, headache, anxiety, and rising heart rate and blood pressure. There’s also the risk of addiction, and when people come down from the Adderall high, they tend to feel sluggish, depressed or unwell. 

There are also severe side effects of Adderall which may include cardiac problems, stroke, and even death. 

Adderall use and availability have become pretty widespread because of the steep increase in the number of prescriptions written for it each year, and that’s allowed more people to have access to it without a prescription.

However, is Adderall a controlled substance? Yes, and below is more information about what exactly that means.

What is a Controlled Substance?

There are two primary categories of drugs, which are prescription and over-the-counter. With over-the-counter drugs, anyone can buy them, but with prescription drugs, a doctor or healthcare provider has to prescribe the drug. Within the category of prescription drugs are controlled and non-controlled substances.

Things that are used to treat chronic conditions such as blood pressure medicines and diabetes medicines, as well as things like antibiotics, are non-controlled. On the other hand, if a drug has the potential to create a physical or mental dependence, it’s considered controlled. This means the Drug Enforcement Administration regulates these drugs and then breaks them down into further categories based on what the likelihood is that the substance will cause dependence.

Adderall is a controlled substance, as are narcotic pain medications.
Adderall is actually a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., and this means that it has a high potential for abuse. This should serve as a warning for people because the DEA is saying as a controlled substance, Adderall is pretty likely to lead to psychological or physical dependence that could be severe.

When someone is purchasing a controlled substance like Adderall, they need not only the prescription itself, but there are also other regulations. For example, the prescription has to be written by the health care provider, and it can be sent over to the pharmacy electronically. You are also limited to certain amounts of the drug in certain periods of time, and you have to get a new prescription every time you get it filled. 

Adderall is a controlled substance because as with other stimulants, the risk of dependence is high. 

Despite the fact that Adderall is a controlled substance, people still take it illegally without a prescription, and many people with a prescription sell it at a high markup. It’s a desirable drug because it provides such a boost in mood and productivity for many people. 

If you are worried about the risk of addiction with Adderall, there are options you can discuss with your doctor. One option is using the extended-release version of the drug because it’s released into the bloodstream more slowly, which can lower the addiction potential.

Some of the signs that you may be abusing Adderall include finishing your prescription sooner than you’re supposed to, unusual thinking, weight loss and changes in mood. 

If you are caught with a controlled substance like Adderall without a legitimate prescription, there can be legal consequences. These consequences can depend but can include a fine, or being held in prison. States vary in how they enforce controlled substances law, but the Controlled Substances Act is a federal law.

Summing Up—Is Adderall a Controlled Substance?

Adderall is a controlled substance, and what this means is that even with a prescription you should be aware of the risk of abuse and addiction. Also, if you don’t have a prescription and you use this drug, you may be putting yourself at risk for legal problems.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.