Adderall is a prescription stimulant composed of two active ingredients: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy.
Adderall, and its extended-release formulation Adderall XR, is a common drug of abuse. One of the less common ways that people abuse drugs like Adderall is by inserting them into the rectum.
Alternative names for this method of use include:
- anal use
- rectal administration
Plugging Adderall carries a high risk of Adderall dependence, addiction, and other dangers such as overdose.
What Does Plugging Mean?
Plugging is a term used to describe the rectal use of drugs. Prescription drugs, including enemas, may be instructed for rectal use by a doctor to treat some medical conditions.
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Taking drugs rectally can also be a sign of substance abuse and addiction. Plugging illicit substances like MDMA, or prescription drugs like Adderall without medical guidance, poses several health risks, particularly without proper lubrication techniques or a sterile applicator.
Why Do People Plug Adderall?
Adderall can be abused in a number of ways. You can snort Adderall, take it by mouth, as well as find ways to smoke or inject it.
The reasons why people choose to abuse Adderall in certain ways can vary according to the desired effect, convenience of use, and other personal factors.
Strong And Quick Onset Of Effects
Plugging Adderall can cause a strong, but short-lived high, as a result of the high bioavailability of Adderall via plugging.
Bioavailability refers to the extent and rate at which the active ingredients of a substance are able to reach its site of action.
What this means is that Adderall can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream this way, producing effects quickly.
This also carries a higher risk for drug toxicity, or overdose, because of the quick absorption of Adderall and the strength of its effects in small doses.
Avoiding Side Effects Of Snorting
One of the more common ways that people abuse Adderall is by crushing the tablets and snorting them. This route of administration is known as insufflation.
Some side effects of snorting Adderall, however, such as visibly irritated nose, redness, and chronic runny nose can be avoided by using Adderall in other ways, such as plugging.
Side Effects Of Plugging Adderall
Plugging Adderall can stimulate the body and the brain very quickly. People who plug Adderall may experience a rush of energy, increased alertness, and feel very jumpy.
Adderall interacts with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Specifically, Adderall interacts with the chemicals dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with mood, pleasure, and the brain’s reward system.
When abused, Adderall can cause a range of physical, mental, and psychological side effects. Plugging Adderall may heighten these effects, or cause these effects in smaller doses.
Side effects of plugging Adderall can include:
- racing thoughts
- increased focus
- dry mouth
- pain, numbness, or burning sensation in the limbs
- poor judgment
- mood swings
- changes in appetite
Plugging Adderall generally leads to short-lived side effects. After plugging Adderall, the effects of the drug may begin to wear off within a short window of time.
This may lead to a “crash,” whereby both mood and energy levels may deplete significantly.
Dangers Of Adderall Plugging
While the quick and powerful high that comes from plugging Adderall can be perceived as a benefit by those who abuse the drug, this is also one of its biggest dangers.
Once administered, Adderall can affect heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Plugging Adderall may cause shortness of breath, chest pain, as well as diarrhea, or constipation.
Acute dangers of plugging Adderall may include:
- chest pain
- aggressive behavior
- psychosis (e.g. delusions, hallucinations)
- heart attack
- sudden death
In addition to the acute dangers of rectal use, plugging Adderall can also cause infections and complications concerning the abdomen and colon. This is especially true with chronic rectal use.
Chronic rectal use of Adderall risks long-term health consequences such as drug addiction, intestinal damage, and damaged anal and rectal tissue.
Damage to the rectum and anus may increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those who engage in anal sex.
Overdose Risk From Plugging Adderall
Taking Adderall rectally causes the entire dose of the drug to hit the bloodstream all at once. This carries a high risk of overdose.
Overdose occurs when someone has taken too much of one or more drugs at a time. This can overwhelm the body and cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms.
Signs of Adderall overdose include:
- rapid breathing
- difficulty breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- aggressive behavior
- high body temperature
- dark red or brown urine
- blurred vision
- falling in and out of consciousness
People who plug Adderall can be at higher risk for overdose after taking small doses of Adderall, compared to those who take Adderall orally or those who snort it.
If someone you know is experiencing signs of an overdose after plugging Adderall, seek emergency medical attention right away. Severe cases of overdose can be life-threatening without treatment.
Treatment For Adderall Abuse And Addiction
Plugging Adderall is a sign of drug abuse and addiction. People who plug Adderall can be at high risk of developing a dependence on Adderall and becoming addicted to it very quickly.
Treatment programs for Adderall addiction include:
- medical detoxification (detox)
- inpatient rehab programs
- residential rehab programs
- outpatient treatment programs
Behavioral treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group counseling are common treatments for Adderall abuse. Medical concerns from plugging Adderall can also be treated within an inpatient or residential treatment program.
Millions of people in the United States seek treatment for prescription drug abuse and illicit drug use each year. If you or someone you know is abusing Adderall, call our helpline today to find treatment options near you.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Dramatic increase in ADHD prescriptions filled by reproductive-age women
- Colon Health — amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine