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Is Adderall a narcotic?

Medically, NO. Adderall is not classified as a narcotic.

Legally, YES. Adderall is a Schedule II drug, classified as such by the Controlled Substances Act.

More here on the narcotic status of Adderall, plus a section at the bottom for your questions about Adderall.

Medical uses for Adderall

Adderall, as an amphetamine (stimulant) is most often prescribed to treat people diagnosed with attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD).  Adderall is also prescribed for narcolepsy, the inability to stay awake.  However, it must be noted here that cases of Adderall sudden death, while uncommon, can occur.  Futhermore, Adderall is an amphetamines in system how long?  Drug screens for Adderall can detect amphetamines in urine for 1-2 days after use.

Adderall as a medical narcotic

Adderall is not a narcotic by medical definition. A narcotic is a medication prescribed for pain relief. Narcotics usually have a high level of abuse because in addition to producing analgesic effect, they can also provoke euphoria. Euphoric effect, a deep sense of well-being, may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Instead, Adderall is a stimulant compound containing a mixture of salts which acts as an amphetamine. While Adderall may be classified in the same high abuse potential group as medical narcotics, Adderall is not a narcotic among medical professionals.

Adderall as a legal narcotic

Legally, Adderall is classified as Schedule II drug. The Controlled Substances Act controls the legal status of Adderall and is enforced by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). While Adderall can be legally obtained by prescription, illegal possession of Adderall carries high penalties.

Why is Adderall a Schedule II narcotic drug?

Adderall, like other stimulants such as Ritalin and Concerta is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule II drug. This indicates that Adderall does have a high abuse and dependence potential, and yet has valid medical uses. It should also be noted here that all legal narcotics like Adderall must be taken with a prescription. Schedule II drugs should be taken with close medical supervision to prevent drug addiction or possible misuse.   Is speed Adderall? No. Although chemically related, speed is stronger than Adderall.

Is Adderall addictive?

Research indicates that people with ADHD do not become addicted to stimulant medications when taken in the form and dosage prescribed. However, when abused, stimulants can be addictive.

Adderall addiction is a very real consideration for anyone taking Adderall without medical supervision. This most likely occurs because stimulants, when taken in doses and routes other than prescribed by a doctor, can induce a rapid rise in dopamine in the brain. Furthermore, if stimulants are used chronically, withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and disturbed sleep patterns can emerge when the drugs are discontinued.

Should Adderall narcotic classification change?

Since Adderall has no medical use as a pain reliever the criteria for narcotic classification cannot change. However, as a Schedule II drug, Adderall is restricted by the same legal requirements other addictive medications. So, it is in our opinion that reclassification of Adderall is not necessary, nor will it increase its safety. But what do you think?

Adderall narcotic questions

Do you have additional questions about Adderall that we did not answer here? Please leave your questions, comments and opinions about Adderall as a narcotic here. We try to respond to all questions with a prompt and personal reply.

Reference Sources: NDIC fast facts on prescription drugs
DEA Schedule of narcotic drugs
NIDA Info facts on amphetamines

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12 Responses to “Is Adderall a narcotic?
Noah Callahan
4:20 pm October 29th, 2013

I am trying to pas a NFPA physical, and i will fail if i “require chronic or frequent
with any of the following medications or classes of medications:
(1) Narcotics, including methadone etc

but i wont fail if its considered a stimulent.

So my question is, in a physical examination, would adderall be considered as a stimulant or a narcotic and will i fail this physical because i take adderall.

1:47 pm October 31st, 2013

Hi Noah. Do you have a prescription for Adderall?

Meghann Worker
12:14 am December 14th, 2013

Thank you for the work. Post assisted me a good deal

6:52 pm October 15th, 2014

Might as well smoke it with a Crack pipe

4:33 pm May 21st, 2016

Would Adderall show up on a drug test as narcotic??
I’m regularly drug tested at my job cannot take anything that would show up as narcotic or otherwise.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:12 pm May 31st, 2016

Hi Aleta. Adderall usually shows up as amphetamine.

9:15 pm April 9th, 2017

I think this post adds to the confusion. Both medically and legally, Adderall is NOT a narcotic. Legally, however, Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance in the same category as narcotics but that’s where the similarities stop.

Reason why workplaces do not allow narcotics have to do with their euphoric potential that is easily abused. Adderall does NOT cause euphoria because it does not bind to opioid receptors in the brain (because it is not an opioid or a narcotic). It simply increases amount of seratonin/dopamine available to your neurons.

Best way I can explain it in layman’s term is that narcotics are consider “downers” they dull your senses to pain and everything around you, giving you that “euphoric” feeling that everything in the world is ok. Amphetamines on the other hand are stimulants and considered an “upper”– it heightens your senses so you take in more of the world around you.

Adderall does show up as amphetamines but generally in low doses, you can get away with negative results after stopping adderall for 1-2 days. Meth shows up as methamphetamine. Labs can see the isomer isolated in the urine to identify if you’re on meth (illegal) vs amphetamines (legal).

2:05 pm April 19th, 2017

Hi Ellie. I believe you are half way right as the first definition of a narcotic is a drug (as opium or morphine) that in moderate doses dulls the senses, relieves pain, and induces profound sleep but in excessive doses causes stupor, coma, or convulsions.

The second definition of the word “narcotic” is a drug (as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, or LSD ) subjected to restriction or Controlled Substance Act scheduling; a drug that affects the brain and that is usually dangerous and illegal.

7:26 am December 9th, 2017

Methadone does not come up as a positive in a drug test for work, neither do benzo’s at least in my state they don’t.

1:14 pm December 13th, 2017

Hello Ivana. Technically that’s not correct. According to DEA the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC §802) defines narcotic drug as (and I’ll simplify) opioids and cocaine, alone or combined with other substances, and the source material, be it plant sources or synthetic. see: .

Benzphetamine is certainly an amphetamine yet a page at DEA says: “Examples of Schedule IIIN non-narcotics include: benzphetamine…” see: .
States may use the term differently.

The term narcotic tends to have pejorative connotations and some discourage its use.

Hopefully our current administration won’t revert to imprisonment as the treatment for addiction. But they seem driven by tax cuts and hatred of Obamacare.

5:48 pm April 30th, 2018

Should Adderall have the same consequences as other major drugs?

12:31 pm May 1st, 2018

Hi Cheyenne. Adderall is a stimulant like cocaine. When it’s used as prescribed, outcomes are therapeutic. However, long-term use of Adderall has not yet been studied clinically. So, sometimes the consequences can be negative.

When people take Adderall for performance enhancement or to get high…the consequences are very much like cocaine: dependence, tolerance, and addiction can occur. Risk of cardiovascular events is also possible.

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