People who struggle
with getting high will look just about anywhere to get their fix, which means
that any substance on the market could become the target of abuse. The Federal
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can put guidelines and safeguards in place,
but when people are struggling with addiction they often defy these rules
without even realizing it, and bad things will happen.
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Addiction is a
very strong force that moves people to try anything, even eating bizarre
substances such as cotton. One great motivating force when it comes to drugs
is access. If a substance is inexpensive and easy to obtain legally, there is
a greater chance someone is going to try to use it for non- medical purposes.
There are plenty of substances on the market that, when taken in high doses or
in combination with other drugs, produce an out-of- your-mind feeling that
kids are curious about and addicts crave.
Propylhexedrine is a
stimulant meant to be inhaled for relief of nasal congestion. It is marketed
under the brand name Benzedrex and is available without a prescription in most
drugstores. Addiction rates of propylhexedrine are hard to track because it is
lumped into the stimulant category, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6.5% of all treatment
program admissions were related to stimulant abuse and a measurable portion of
those involved propylhexedrine.
Propylhexedrine abuse was documented as far back as 1949 when it replaced
amphetamine in nasal decongestant inhalers. The switch was made, ironically,
to reduce amphetamine abuse. Benzedrex is readily available and very
inexpensive — two facts that attract recreational drug users.
it is almost impossible to overdose on an inhaler - the method through which
propylhexedrine produces a high. An inhaler is designed to contain the
medicine in a piece of cotton so air can be forced across it and release
vapors for inhalation.
consume propylhexedrine in larger doses than recommended, drug users break
open the inhaler and take out the cotton wick which is saturated with the
drug. They then go through an elaborate procedure to separate the drug from
the cotton. Some end up actually swallowing the cotton. Others soak it in a
beverage and then strain the cotton before drinking.
eucalyptus, menthol, camphor and other ingredients to Benzedrex to give it a
pleasant odor and increase the decongestant effect. Recreational drug users
who abuse propylhexedrine end up ingesting these other substances along with
the drug. This could account for reports of a nasty taste. Propylhexedrine
abuse is sometimes referred to as eating cotton. The cotton itself can cause
bowel obstructions and lead to serious problems.
The Effects of a
Thanks to the Internet,
anyone can access anecdotal information about recreational drug use. Now you
don’t have to know someone who has tried drugs or go to places where
recreational drug abusers hang out to get a firsthand account. The
availability of this information makes recreational drug use seem more
mainstream and acceptable since it is being discussed in the open. On a
positive note, people sharing their bad experiences can prevent others from
repeating those mistakes.
Most of the anecdotal
evidence on the propylhexedrine high is unpleasant. Users report a dirty high
combined with very unpleasant tastes and odors from ingesting the substance
and the camphor, eucalyptus and menthol it is infused with. Some say the taste
recurs for hours, providing a definite deterrent from using the drug again.
The high is described as fleeting, coupled with anxiety and paranoia, and
followed quickly by a terrible crash. The withdrawal process has been compared
to that of meth.
If you are not familiar with the
sensation, keep in mind that methamphetamine is a highly addictive central
nervous system stimulant. There is no medication available to counteract meth
withdrawal symptoms. People who are addicted to meth fight very hard to break
Propylhexedrine vs. Adderall
is believed to increase focus in adults, although it is not listed by any
official source as a treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. Students who
typically abuse drugs in an effort to increase their mental performance have
been known to try propylhexedrine, possibly because it is so inexpensive and
readily available. The information available on this type of use is thin and
Adderall is a brand name for amphetamine, a highly
addictive stimulant that has had many medical uses over the years. Adderall is
often prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder and narcolepsy. It stimulates
brain function, speeding up the message transmission process.
Propylhexedrine and Adderall are similar in that both are stimulants and
can have a calming effect on individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder,
helping them to focus their thoughts and be more productive and organized.
Adderall is only available with a prescription, while propylhexedrine can be
legally purchased in any drug store right over the counter.
If you have
a problem concentrating and suspect you could benefit from medical
intervention, you should talk to your doctor. He or she can help you through
methods that are both safe and legal. It is never a good idea to self-
medicate with someone else’s prescription or by ignoring the dosing
instructions on over-the-counter drugs. Just because your roommate has figured
out a formula that works for him doesn’t mean it will work for you, and you
could be exposing yourself to serious health risks.
While its chemical make-up is structurally
similar to methamphetamine, propylhexedrine is not an amphetamine.
Propylhexedrine works on brain chemicals, specifically dopamine,
norepinephrine and serotonin, and has the result of stimulating certain types
of messages. This is why at certain doses Benzedrex can make people feel more
focused and energetic.
However, Propylhexedrine is also a
vasoconstrictor, which is one of its properties that helps reduce inflammation
in the nasal passages and relieves congestion. Constricting blood vessels,
especially at high doses of the medication, can have serious cardiovascular
side effects. The heart has to work harder to move blood through vessels that
are constricted. If there are any small obstructions in the vessels, it is
possible to create a complete blockage when constricted.
Depending on age and health, there is a limit to how hard
the heart can work before giving out. Think of how you feel when you run up
hill. You may be able to tolerate the increased exertion of running at a
steady pace for a set amount of time. But if your course suddenly takes you up
an incline, your heart beats faster and you begin to pant at the extra power
needed. Once you get to the top of the hill and the course levels off again
you are ok. But if that incline had been any longer or any steeper, you might
have had to stop.
An overdose of propylhexedrine
constricts your blood vessels, putting extra pressure on your heart. You have
no control over how long this condition lasts, so you can’t stop in the middle
of this hill to catch your breath. Your heart will continue to work to move
the blood through your body until it can’t do it anymore. Then, it just
Benzedrex Abuse Side Effects
according to package instructions, propylhexedrine has few side effects. Users
might experience burning, stinging, sneezing and a runny nose. These are all
tolerable and limited because when you inhale Benzedrex, the drug is acting
topically on the nasal passages. Very little, if any, gets into the major body
systems to cause systemic reactions. It generally doesn’t get past the
surfaces it comes in contact with.
Abusing propylhexedrine changes all
of the parameters because it puts the drug into systems in the body where it
wasn’t meant to go. By ingesting the Benzedrex cotton, the user multiplies the
dosage and introduces it to the digestive tract, which leads into the
Some of the effects a user might feel
when ingesting a large dose of propylhexedrine include:
- Changes in
- Reduced appetite
An overdose of Benzedrex could
result in these side effects:
- Heart attack
- Loss of brain function
- Suicidal thoughts
many drugs, propylhexedrine can be harmless and effective when taken according
to the package instructions. When abused, however, it can be deadly. The key
is knowing how much is too much. Each individual should allow medical
professionals to make that judgement. Once you break into that cheap inhaler
and start experimenting with Benzedrex, you could quickly end up in serious
Signs of Propylhexedrine Abuse
of drug abuse are always there if you know what to look for, and they are
quite similar no matter what substance is being abused. Many recreational drug
users even combine substances, taking them at the same time or randomly
abusing different substances and adding alcohol to the mix.
Drug abusers usually exhibit some if not all of these behaviors:
- Isolation — avoiding friends or social situations or
developing new friendships but keeping them secret.
struggles — constantly short on money with no sign of where it is
- Insomnia — can be drug-related or due
to the stress of keeping secrets and scoring the next high.
- Moodiness — changing from happy to sad and back again
- Weight loss — noticeable loss of
weight without new diet or exercise routine.
— quick to anger and wanting to fight.
- Loss of
Productivity — not keeping up at work or school.
Drug abuse develops for many reasons, often
resulting in addiction which escalates the abuse. Abusing a so-called non-
addictive substance or one that is considered safe, does not mean a person is
not in danger. In some ways, feeling like the abuse is OK because the drug is
supposed to be safe just exacerbates the problem because it is allowed to go
unchecked for too long.
Possibly the most vulnerable people to
Benzedrex abuse are teenagers. It is an inexpensive drug and young people are
generally more daring than others. They have yet to fully develop the part of
their brains that understands mortality. Since a large dose is needed and the
inhaler must be taken apart to ingest it, there are additional signs you could
look for. Broken inhalers or empty packaging in the trash might indicate your
teen is experimenting with propylhexedrine. Also, bits of cotton that have a
brownish tinge being saved or stored somewhere in a teen’s room or book bag is
Although there are a limited number of statistics about
propylhexedrine abuse, it is a serious problem. Anyone who would go through
the required steps, endure the foul taste and risk digestive complications by
swallowing cotton is desperate to get high. That person may have developed
their desire to be high on other drugs and is now just experimenting with a
cheaper alternative. The addiction itself doesn’t have to be to Benzedrex.
Abusing any drug is a sign of trouble.
If you or someone you love is abusing propylhexedrine, help is available.
Drug abuse and addiction are closely linked, and even if you think the drug of
choice is not that harmful, you must recognize the bigger picture. The desire
to seek a chemically induced euphoric state is a sign of trouble. The
willingness to jeopardize your health and life for this euphoria is at the
heart of addiction.
Substance abuse is extremely damaging — physically
and emotionally. People are hurt, families torn apart, and careers ended when
addiction enters the picture. Contact 12 Keys so we can help you fight for
sober, happy living. We can help you put the pieces back together. Our
individualized programs meet your current needs, whatever they are, and bring
you through to recovery. We help people build healthy, happy, substance-free
lives every day. Let us help you.
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