Adderall can be administered in an immediate-release version (Adderall IR) or an extended-release version (Adderall XR). The extended-release version is particularly useful for children in school because a teacher does not have to administer the medication in the middle of the day. The effects from the immediate-release version will last 4-6 hours, whereas the effectiveness of the extended-release version is estimated to last around 12 hours.
Because Adderall contains highly potent stimulants that can be effective for their medicinal purposes at prescribed doses but can be dangerous when abused at large doses, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance. Medicines in this category are in the highest schedule that can still be prescribed by a physician. Drugs classified in the higher classification, Schedule I, are only available with special permissions from the government and typically just used in research. Thus, while Adderall does have useful medicinal functions, it also has an extremely high potential for abuse and for the development of physical dependence.Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is known to be a significant drug of abuse. Drinking alcohol has a totally different effect than using a stimulant. Stimulant medications generally increase the availability of excitatory neurotransmitters in areas of the brain that, when activated, improve focus, physical activity, alertness, etc. Adderall generally increases the availability of norepinephrine and dopamine. Alcohol acts to inhibit the function of the excitatory neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) while at the same time enhancing functioning of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycline. Alcohol in its various forms is the most frequently abused substance in the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Basic written instructions for nearly every prescription medication warn against taking the medication in conjunction with alcohol. In addition, most physicians strongly advise against using any prescription medication in conjunction with alcohol.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued numerous warnings regarding the dangers of mixing drugs, and textbooks like Concepts of Chemical Dependency and Chemical Dependency Treatment: Innovative Group Approaches discuss some of the reasons that it is not advisable to mix any prescription medication with alcohol.
Even though most individuals with a prescription for the drug do not abuse it, the increase in prescriptions of stimulants for ADHD leads to an increased availability of these drugs for potential abusers.
Research also indicates that a significant number of individuals who abuse prescription stimulant medications will abuse them in conjunction with alcohol at least occasionally. The reasons for abusing the substances together are varied.
Based on available research and other information from professional organizations, such as the FDA, it can only be concluded that it is not safe to combine alcohol and Adderall in any amount or for any purpose. When individuals engage in this practice, they are leaving themselves open to a number of potentially dangerous effects.