"I started crushing it up on my own when I was in 6th grade"
Stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are fighters against Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD. When used according to prescription, they can help those who are diagnosed get back to a normal life.
"I thought it helped me concentrate in school, I was doing it to be able to read," said Aaron Bugbee.
30-year-old Bugbee was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6. He was prescribed Ritalin, but took too many in the wrong way.
"I started crushing it up on my own when I was in 6th grade," Bugbee said.
He quickly found himself hooked to the medication.
"It's like you drank a whole lot of coffee, you know, it's like you get a lot of energy," Bugbee said.
By the time he got to college, he's not only abusing prescription drugs, but he was also using methamphetamine. He eventually ended up at a drug rehabilitation in Lansing, a drug rehabilitation facility. Bugbee says his addiction started with what he thought is harmless -- prescription drugs.
"I believe that the Ritalin is like a gateway drug too, that it seems harmless but it's that foothold that grabs a hold of you, opens the door to harder drugs," Bugbee said.
Abuse of ADHD medication is what doctors call a national crisis, from college students searching for ways to pull all nighters to high schoolers looking for a quick high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12th graders reporting non-medical use of Adderall increased from 5.4% in 2009 to 7.6% in 2012. Perhaps what's more alarming is that the perceived risk of abusing Adderall continues to decline. In 2012, nearly 6% fewer high school seniors said trying Adderall is harmful. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that's a sign use and abuse may keep going up.
"I've heard from other school officials as I have traveled to different schools that is one of the problems that they face," said Lt. Tim Gill with Michigan State Police.
Lt. Gill says drugs like Adderol and Ritalin are often passed around between friends, which makes it harder for law enforcement to crack down. However, the person caught can bet there will be consequences.
"It's a violation of both federal and state law, there could be potential for felony charges," said Lt. Gill.
Impacts on the body can be deadly. Side effects of abusing stimulant drugs include rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and seizures.
"Over the past five years, we've seen about a 30% increase of people showing up to emergency rooms who shouldn't be taking the medications, and they're also mixing the medications with alcohol and other drugs," said Dr. Linda Peterson, psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at McLaren Greater Lansing.
Bugbee knows too well what the consequences are.
"When you start to come down from it, you get real edgy and very irritated. Headaches, hard to sleep and I barely had an appetite anymore," said Bugbee.
The addiction cost him jobs, but he says he's made a full recovery after coming here and now he's warning others to never make the same mistake.