Fake Adderall Pills: Can Counterfeit Pills Lead To Overdose?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022

Fake Adderall pills are a growing problem, particularly among young adults. Pills sold as Adderall may contain ingredients, such as fentanyl, not found in their legal counterparts. This is dangerous and could lead to accidental overdose.

Dangers Of Fake Adderall

A safety message for students at the Ohio State University was recently released by Vice President Dr. Melissa Shivers regarding the use of counterfeit pills.

According to Dr. Shivers and the Columbus Public Health, counterfeit Adderall pills have been found to contain the highly potent synthetic opioid fentanyl — a main driver in the nation’s overdose deaths.

National trends show, it’s not just in Ohio where this is occurring. Lab testing shows fake pills marketed as amphetamines often contain powerful substances that could cause fatal overdose.

What Are Fake Adderall Pills?

Fake pills, also known as counterfeit pills, are drugs that are sold on the street as prescription medications. For instance, illicit attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) pills.

Fake Adderall may be manufactured to look like its legal counterpart. However, this does not mean the pills contain the same ingredients as the prescription medication.

What Are The Dangers Of Fake Adderall Pills?

Buying Adderall on the street can be dangerous in part because illicit pills often contain toxic ingredients and additives.

This can also be a sign of Adderall abuse or addiction. Abuse of the medication can pose a number of moderate to severe health risks, both in the short term and over time.

However, one of the biggest concerns associated with fake Adderall pills at this time is increasing reports of these pills containing fentanyl.

What Causes Counterfeit Pill Overdose?

Overdose broadly occurs when you take too much of one or more drugs.

What’s believed to be currently driving counterfeit pill overdose, however, is the addition of drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl to pills.

Unfortunately, fentanyl overdose can occur very easily, and after taking even a small amount, if you don’t have an existing tolerance for opioids.

Signs Of Fake Adderall Pill Overdose

If you or someone you know buys Adderall on the street, knowing the signs of a drug overdose can be life-saving.

Signs of an overdose may include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • slow, shallow, or stopped breathing
  • clammy skin
  • unresponsiveness
  • pinpoint pupils
  • unusual changes in heart rate or blood pressure
  • loss of consciousness

Actual overdose symptoms may vary, depending on the types of drugs the pills contain, as well as the amount taken and other factors.

Call 911 immediately if someone is showing symptoms of overdose. Hospitalization may be required.

What Can Prevent Counterfeit Drug Overdose?

Counterfeit pill overdose is a serious concern, particularly among college students who buy fake Adderall for its cognitive enhancement capabilities.

According to health experts, there several ways to help prevent accidental overdose:

Avoid Buying Illicit Pills

An estimated 40 percent of illicit pills that contain fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose, according to lab testing by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Illicit Adderall use carries with it a number of dangers and should be avoided when possible.

Never buy Adderall sold on the street and talk to your doctor before attempting to replace Adderall with an alternative.

Drug Testing

Fentanyl test strips are a tool that can test drugs to see if they contain fentanyl.

Although fentanyl test strips are banned for personal use in much of the U.S., they can be purchased online. Moreover, laws banning their use are rarely enforced.

Test strips are also distributed by some public health departments, law enforcement agencies, and harm reduction organizations.


Having naloxone on hand is another way to help prevent fatal overdose. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can reverse an opioid overdose when administered quickly.

Drug Education

Educating on the potential risks and dangers of illicit Adderall use, as well as the increasing presence of fentanyl-contaminated drugs can help prevent overdose.

Getting Help For Drug Addiction

The use of illicit pills can be a sign of drug misuse. If this is the case, getting help as soon as possible is highly recommended.

The worse a drug problem grows, the greater your risk of encountering serious health problems down the road.

Find Help For Drug Abuse Today

Our team of specialists at AddictionResource.net works every day to help connect people with addiction treatment options for themselves or loved ones.

Call our helpline for more information about fake Adderall pills, or how to find a treatment program for prescription drug misuse today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400