Monday, August 13, 2012
Special: A Bitter Pill To Swallow
Adderall comes in both capsule and pill form, as shown above. It's easy to get illegally and has become one of the most widely-abused forms of prescription medication on college campuses. Away from studying, Adderall is also a hit in bars. Used for its mood-heightening and energy-adding effects, it makes users feel euphoric and takes away reality for a while. Hardcore users crush the pills and snort them like cocaine.
On Tuesday ESPN's Marty Smith posted an interview with suspended NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger. For the first time, Allmendinger disclosed his belief that his positive drug test was triggered by Adderall. On the Wednesday before the Kentucky race, Allmendinger says he ingested one pill given to him in the early evening by an unnamed friend while out on the town.
He later stated in other interviews that he had never done drugs and did not even know what an amphetamine was when told of his violation. He said only by retracing his steps that week did he discover that the friend had given him a prescription Adderall pill that matched the the type of drug Aegis Labs advised him had caused the violation. The friend was never identified.
So, the scenario put to the media is that while feeling tired, Allmendinger took one Adderall pill early on Wednesday evening thinking it was an energy supplement. Allmendinger felt nothing strange after taking it and on Friday afternoon he was given and subsequently failed a standard NASCAR random urine test. That story is tough to swallow.
The curious thing is that something else has emerged from his recent media interviews that perhaps paints a better picture of the situation. Despite having nothing to do with taking a random pill in a bar, Allmendinger has been speaking about his mental and emotional health.
In a Wednesday interview with reporter Bob Dillner shown on SPEED's RaceHub show, Allmendinger again referenced his struggle to deal with the world around him. "Things felt like they were spinning out of control," he told Dillner. "I've struggled for six years and haven't been happy."
Allmendinger told Lee Spencer at FOX Sports that his life was a disaster. "I’ve been through hell, I’ve created my own hell and I’m going through it," he said. "I’m still trying to figure out life in general."
In his interview with Smith, Allmendinger again said he had let things in his life get out of control. "It (NASCAR) has made me lose who I am," he said. "It is the most grueling thing I have ever had in my life."
These comments don't come from a person who took a random pill in a bar. They come from someone who is in big trouble. They come from someone who is screaming for help. They come from someone who is still at risk. They come from someone who may secretly be having very bad thoughts about life.
Aegis Lab is happy. The tests were right, the results were verified. NASCAR is happy. The violator is in the program, checks-in every week and is clean. Team Penske is happy. The problem is gone and the sponsor remained. In other words, the show goes on.
It seems that lost in the shuffle is Allmendinger. Outside of being a driver, he is a human being just as vulnerable as any of us to the mental health challenges life can present. Let us hope that as part of his current recovery program NASCAR is mandating professional counseling.
If is often said that wake-up calls sometime seem to come along at the right time. Maybe the mysterious friend of a friend will ultimately serve a much higher purpose for Allmendinger than just passing along some "college crack" in a Kentucky bar. Only time will tell.
We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.