New Scientist has put an article online about drug-tampering – the practice of messing with prescription medication so it can be used to get a high or gives a stronger effect.
Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are being crushed and snorted, and users on internet sites discuss how to take other drugs in similarly non-standard ways.
New Scientist suggests that this is a ‘growing health hazard’ but prescription drug-tampering is as old as prescription medication itself.
In fact, prescriptions were introduced in many countries to try and control the problem of medicines being used recreationally.
Benzedrine is the classic example. The nasal decongestant was widely abused as its main active ingredient was amphetamine.
It was so widely abused to become part of culture and featured in songs and literature as a result. Even clean-cut James Bond pops the occasional Benzedrine to keep him sharp in the original Ian Fleming novels.
The Addiction Research Unit at Buffalo University have collected many more examples of now prohibited drugs which were widely available over the counter, and similarly abused for their recreational kick.