Stimulants, which you may remember from reading about MDMA, speed up a bunch of processes within the body; but there are quite a few different drugs that, despite sharing this classification, otherwise have wildly varying side effects. I mean, if they didn’t fall under the same category of drug, I would otherwise never group together prescription ADD medications like Adderall, which serves a viable purpose when taken by people who need it, and cocaine, which, you know, doesn’t. There are tons of different kinds of less-regulated stimulants as well, like caffeine and nicotine. All these different kinds of stimulants have various chemical agents in them that cause their characteristic teeth-grinding zippiness. Adderall contains amphetamine salts, which help people focus, give them energy, and make them feel hunger and sleepiness far less acutely than normal. They’re basically a toned-down version of the amphetamines found in drugs like meth and MDMA without all the insane side effects those drugs can have. Prescription ADD medications affect some of the same neurological functions that cocaine does, but mostly without the nosebleeds and seediness, two hallmarks of coke culture. Cocaine is different in tons of other ways, too. It’s basically an expensive way to feel like a speed robot for an average of about half an hour before fiending another bump; and it most frequently comes in white powder form of varying purity, as opposed to a regulated pill with a set dosage.

Stimulants make users feel like they just need to talk forever to everyone about everything. They tend to focus intently on one concept and mentally parse it to shreds before moving on to the next one. Euphoria is a pretty common aspect of taking stimulants, as well, so not only are users talk-talk-talking, but doing so excitedly and intensely without realizing how crazily they’re coming off to other people. They also just want to run the hell around and interrupt other people’s conversations and ignore social cues in favor of thinking that they are THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE ROOM with the hands-down MOST ENGAGING THOUGHTS when they are actually just the most annoying person in the room with the driest throat and smelliest armpits (stimulants make people sweat like crazy). Cocaine is probably most closely associated with these attributes, but amphetamines, including prescription ones, will often do the same thing. Just pop your head into any 24-hour college library at finals time and observe the students simultaneously jabbering like cracked-out parakeets and trying to highlight passages about the Golgi apparatus in their biology books. I have lived this Adderall-driven truth, people. I have also lived the cocaine-driven one of watching people with wild eyes unsuccessfully trying to humblebrag while hunched over a mirror. Such glamour, right? Uh, no.

Coke temporarily makes people into the worst versions of themselves; know that going in and stay away entirely if that doesn’t seem fun to you. (If it does seem fun, maybe slow your roll? Be careful if you feel yourself becoming addicted to anything. Here’s a useful link for you; no shame in using it!)

Many stimulants are ADDICTIVE as heck, and those who use them will find their tolerances skyrocketing even quicker than their heart rates if they use them frequently. And since they do affect users’ heart rates in a very real way, those with heart conditions need to stay the fuck away from them, on the real. Overuse of cocaine can cause heart attacks even if users don’t have pre-existing heart conditions, as well. Most stimulants can cause long-term effects like depression, anxiety, and insomnia, which makes a lot of sense—if a person gets used to being SPEEDYSPEEDYSPEEDYHAPPYOMGLIFE!!! all the time, the regular, non-motor-mouthy pace of sobriety can seem like a chore, which is also the mental part of why stimulants can be so habit-forming.


Basically, you guys? Don’t do drugs. If you’re gonna do them, though, please please PLEASE try to avoid speed, meth, heroin, and anything that is commonly described in the news as an “epidemic” (like, say, bath salts or anything whose primary purpose is cleaning household surfaces), and keep your doses of these non-epidemic drugs very small. Don’t do anything that you’re not really sure about, or just because your friends are doing it if you yourself feel weird about it. NEVER DRIVE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ANYTHING OR GET IN A CAR WITH A DRIVER WHO IS. Don’t die!!!

What rules is that you’ve got your whole life to try everything you want, and that includes plenty of time to thoroughly make up your mind about which things those might be. Dangerous things, benign things, and—what most of life comprises—things that can go either or even both ways, depending on how you handle them. I trust you to go forth, make your own informed decisions, and live to tell the tales (and if you’re safe and responsible, you’ll probably end up with some really good ones). ♦