Amphetamine Dream
I lost 80 pounds -- twice!
Published August 31, 1999 in Scope

Is the continued demand for diet pills just another pathetic detail in the dangerous lives of modern fatoids who are always struggling to lose those extra pounds at any cost? Or are these magic little pills chemical equalizers for the overweight -- tiny capsules of hope that have inspired generations of Americans?

See also...
... by Whorella
... in the Scope section
... from August 31, 1999

Before there were makeshift labs producing cheap intravenous speed, there were doctors providing the pharmaceutical fuel to make a nation great. Starting with the Korean War, our boys overseas used speed to fight for their country through every World War. By 1958, 75,000 pounds of amphetamine were produced -- enough to supply every American with about 20 doses. The good ol' days... Can you imagine having a prescription for Benzedrine with unlimited refills? How good would you be on an assembly line?

In 1980, I was 19 and got my first 'script of speed -- Biphetamine 20: Black Beauties. I had to let the doctor feel my titties in exchange for 30. I still feel like I got the good end of that deal. I lost the desire to eat for months, rejecting food with a powerful wave of my hand, free from those cursed desires that kept me corpulent. All slugdom was lifted within one hour of swallowing the capsule.

I lost 80 pounds in 6 months ... took up sewing, karate, Buddhism, and would sit for hours searching my hair for split ends to pull apart. I chewed my fingernails until they bled. Stayed awake at night thinking people were scratching at the screens. Windows closed in July. Suffocating. Not motivated to do anything but worry.

By the eighth month, I was going to three doctors. When I reached the point where no amount of speed brought back that original joy, I crashed and spent two weeks on a couch. Ended up clean and sober for a few years and regained every pound.

But it was the Dexedrine I stole off my dad that ended my sobriety. I went back to my doctor and got more diet pills. Phentermine. Nothing to get addicted over. Still, even with a weaker pill, I lost another 80 pounds in 6 months. And kept most of it off, taking one pill a day with no increase in use or abuse. I only needed a little help.

When my family doctor died, I just quit taking them, figuring it was time I relied on my own willpower. I gained about 50 pounds over the next few years but never felt too bad about it -- until I saw a picture of Roseanne in People magazine auctioning off her fat clothes. I thought, "God, I'm fatter than Roseanne."

I tried to get a prescription for Meridia -- the first FDA-approved diet pill since they took Fen-Phen off the market for causing heart-valve damage -- but the HMO doctor said no. I don't have it in me to fake AD/HD for Ritalin or Dexedrine, and the really strong diet pills that make you psychotic (Desoxyn, Eskatrol, Preludin) haven't been available over the counter in over ten years. So where does a girl turn for help?

In modern America, you're better dead than overfed. Look at us poor whales beached by the tides of fashion. All we ask is a simple drug to make our problems go away. Let us diet with dignity.

Whorella is a high school dropout, convicted felon, former junkie, mud wrestler, welfare mother, Mensa member and award-winning writer from Pittsburgh.