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ABBY HAGLAGE – Can Adderall Abuse Trigger Temporary Schizophrenia?

25 million people take Adderall to help them focus. But when used recreationally, the drug can be harmful—even deadly.

By the time 36-year-old Scott Hahn caused a fatal crash on the New Jersey Turnpike Feb. 22, he’d taken 10 Adderall pills and been awake for more than a day. The accident took the lives of local teacher Tim O’Donnell and his 5-year-old daughter Bridget and revived old concerns about the drug’s link to erratic behavior.

Those present in the minutes before the crash say Hahn was swerving in and out of lanes and driving erratically in the moments before the crash, when he sent O’Donnell’s car flying into the eastbound lane. Now he faces up to 30 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, his story is a reminder of the dangers of stimulants.

Amphetamines come with a host of negative side effects, most commonly insomnia and irregular heartbeat. But in less common cases, the drug can induce a psychosis that is nearly identical to schizophrenia—so close, in fact, that scientists use it to study the disease. Far from a new discovery, it’s something that scientists and pharmaceuticals have known about for decades.

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