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Adderall Addict: From ER to Nursing Home

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Hollywood, CAOn April 13, 2012 something went horribly wrong with Al. His friend took him to the emergency room, where he had a ‘cardiac event’. After determining the amount of drugs he was taking, the doctors determined that Al had toxemia, which was mainly due to so much Adderall in his system.

Al (not his real name) was taking 50 mg of prescribed Adderall with permission from his doctor to take more if his work days were longer—he is a performer and often worked late nights. Katie (not her real name) says her friend was taking up to 100mg Adderall per day, along with anti-depressants and sleeping pills because he was so jacked up from the Adderall. It eventually compromised his nervous system.

“Al started taking Adderall in October 2008 at the age of 50, to focus,” Katie explains. “He had been sober for 25 years—he used to be a heroin addict. You don’t prescribe Adderall to an addict. It is like any drug—once you are addicted you just want more.

“This is how the doctor described Al’s condition: ‘His body was completely functioning on Adderall; there was no natural energy produced anymore.’ So when they removed the Adderall his natural body didn’t know how to function. He couldn’t walk, hold a coffee cup, or even retain urine. All he could do was talk and even that was difficult because he had decreased lung capacity—he couldn’t get enough air into his lungs to formulate words. The doctor also said that Adderall was a synthetic drug mainly used first by the military during combat to keep them going, and there was no reason that Al should be on it, especially this high dosage.

“He didn’t get sick overnight. We had been noticing shaking symptoms—like Parkinson’s disease-- for about six months and I told him he should get checked out. But at that time he had a movie, book and TV release so he was taking more meds to meet his deadlines. Basically he reached a plateau then crashed.

"Al was finally transferred from the medical unit to the psychiatric ward for detox, which was mentally debilitating. Here was a vibrant man in a very uncomfortable situation, listed as a ‘fall risk’ so he had a nurse 24/7. That was embarrassing, to say the least. And the care provided wasn’t that great—for example, sometimes I would visit and he was covered in urine.

"After that he was transferred to a nursing home surrounded by 80-year-old stroke victims. On May 29 he had the first seizure, which brought us back to the hospital for CT Scans, ECGs and MRIs. So far they can’t figure out why he had seizures.

"Today he is resting in the Neuro-Telemetry Unit of the hospital. As for his prognosis, once Al’s nervous system regenerates he will pull through but it is going to take a long time. Meanwhile we have lost performance dates and auditions. And we almost lost him.

"I have been told that he should be home by the end of June but with home care, nurses’ aids, physical and occupational therapy to be continued on an out-patient basis. We have Medicare but it only covers so much—I have no idea how we are going to manage financially.

"As well as filing an Adderall lawsuit, I want to file a malpractice suit against the doctor who prescribed Adderall back in 2008. He should have known not to give this drug to a recovering addict. I did a lot of research and there is no case study on Adderall nervous system destruction that I can find. From what the doctors told me, this case is unprecedented and the medical community should be made aware of it. Adderall attorneys might want to know. And so should the Adderall manufacturer—this drug is frightening.”

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