Adderall and cocaine are two powerful stimulant drugs with two very different reputations. Cocaine is a party drug, one that complements a night of drinking out at the club. Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s also quickly becoming an abused drug on college campuses nationwide.

Cocaine initially had a more negative reputation than Adderall but the latter is quickly catching up. Emergency room admittances due to Adderall abuse rose 156 percent between 2006 and 2011. According to the same study from Johns Hopkins, the number of people using Adderall without a prescription shot up 67 percent in that time frame.

Currently, about 1.9 million people ages 12 and older actively use cocaine. About 1.7 million people in the same age group misuse prescription stimulants. Though more use cocaine, the number dropped compared to past years. The rates of prescription stimulant misuse continue rising.

Comparing Adderall and Cocaine


Adderall is a prescription stimulant drug made with a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Doctors initially used it to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, mainly in children, after its introduction in 1996. It raises dopamine levels in those with ADHD in order to help them focus on the tasks before them.

Adderall soon found its way onto college campuses, touted as a “study drug” that helped people focus. If someone needed to churn out a 10-page paper overnight, a friend might offer a pill or two. Once they discover the effects of the drug it quickly becomes a seemingly harmless way to get through homework.

The drug might not be as harmless as it seems, though. Adderall comes with a number of both short-term and long-term side effects.

Side Effects of Adderall

The short-term side effects of Adderall use include:

  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased blood flow

Some of the long-term side effects of use are:

  • Restlessness, nervousness, or anxiety
  • Difficulties with falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking
  • Frustration or difficulties controlling temper
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Additionally, there are more serious side effects of Adderall that appear when someone overuses or abuses it. Seek immediate professional help if someone shows any of the following:

  • Physical or verbal tics
  • Visual, auditory, or physical hallucinations
  • Mania (overly excited or frenzied mood)
  • Paranoia (suspicious of others)
  • Delusions (believing things that are not true)


Cocaine, also called coke or blow, is another stimulant drug used most commonly as a club or party drug. It is a white, crystalline, fine powder that people usually snort to ingest. Cocaine received its reputation as a club drug due to its ability to help people drink more alcohol for longer periods of time. You aren’t able to feel the effects of alcohol as much when you use it.

The drug functions by blocking the brain’s ability to recycle dopamine. Rather than sending dopamine transmitters through the system, it creates a massive stockpile instead. This results in the reward of a quick high and causes the body to immediately want more cocaine.

Since it’s purchased as a street drug, there’s no way to guarantee the quality of the cocaine you purchase. Manufacturers often cut it with various substances like talcum powder, flour, or cornstarch to increase profits. Sometimes they cut it with other drugs such as amphetamine or synthetic opioids. This inconsistency in manufacturing has the potential to lead to a disastrous outcome.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Cocaine addiction treatment is the first step toward overcoming your problems with cocaine and learning to live life free from substance abuse.

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Adderall vs. Cocaine

Again, both Adderall and cocaine are stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system. They raise energy levels, increase alertness, and give users a sense of overall euphoria and wellbeing. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies them both as Schedule II drugs, alongside Vicodin, OxyContin, and methamphetamine. Both have a very high potential for abuse and addiction.

One of the biggest differences between the two drugs is how long the high lasts. Cocaine comes on quickly within minutes of ingesting it. It has an extremely short high, though, only lasting between 5 minutes and half an hour. People most often binge use cocaine, meaning they use a large amount of it in a short period of time. This makes it the popular party drug that it is.

On the other hand, Adderall provides a longer, steadier high, especially when using extended-release capsules. The effects take longer to set in, usually half an hour to an hour, but last between four and six hours. Effects of extended-release capsules last for up to 12 hours. These long-lasting effects make it more popular with students trying to make it through long homework and studying sessions.

Cocaine and Adderall Addiction Treatment

Some prefer the quick come-up of cocaine while others prefer the longer-lasting effects of Adderall. Regardless of the drug you use, it’s difficult to quit using either of them once you develop an addiction. You can escape the stimulant cycle with the help of addiction treatment.

Seeking Addiction Help

Hawaii Island Recovery is an addiction treatment facility on the Big Island of Hawaii that can help you quit. Surrounded by the beauty of Hawaii and the support of your peers, you can learn to live a life free from substance abuse. If you want to learn more about the programs we offer, call us today at 877-721-3556.

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