What is the Black Beauty Drug?

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Season 2 of the Netflix series “Russian Doll” brought the Black Beauty drug back into the spotlight after it had been largely forgotten for decades. Though these sleek black pills were popular in the 1960s and 70s, they lost some of their favor as similar drugs like Adderall hit the market. Delivering energy, euphoria, and weight loss, the Black Beauty drug has ample appeal. Unfortunately, its benefits come with a host of harrowing risks and side effects. Here’s what you need to know about the drug.

Introduction to the Black Beauty Drug

Black Beauty is the street name for Biphetamine 20. These pills are also referred to as Black Cadillacs, Black Widows, Black Birds, Black Bombers, and Black Mollies. This drug is a stimulant containing 10 mg of amphetamine and 10 mg of dextroamphetamine. Black Beauty became a popular street drug in the 1960s and 70s. Users saw these pills as a cheap alternative to cocaine, as they enhanced wakefulness and provided a pleasurable high.

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Black Beauty became illegal in 1965 except for prescription use. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed, classifying both ingredients in the Black Beauty drug as Schedule II controlled substances.

Origins and History

The amphetamine epidemic began in the US as early as the 1930s. Amphetamines were introduced for sale over the counter in 1933 and were readily available for 15 years. They were promoted as an anti-depressant, weight-loss drug, and stimulant. The US military supplied amphetamine tablets to soldiers to help boost alertness. The drug gained popularity among housewives who wanted to slim down and perk up, while students and truck drivers used it to stay focused through long hours of work.

Biphetamine 20 was used as a medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from 1955 to 1983. It was used as a prescription treatment for narcolepsy and obesity as well. However, it was likely abused as often as it was used appropriately. One study in Wisconsin found that over 118,000 doses of Biphetamine 20 were prescribed by just 26 practitioners, six of which were not physicians. This concentration of sales indicates a high likelihood of drug abuse.

Composition and Effects

The Black Beauty drug is comprised of two powerful stimulants — amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine contains d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine salts at a ratio of 3:1. Dextroamphetamine is comprised primarily of d-amphetamine. Both drugs stimulate the central adrenergic receptors to boost dopamine and norepinephrine production. This creates a sense of euphoria. Amphetamines also increase heart rate and blood pressure and make individuals more wakeful.

The Black Beauty drug is best known for helping to increase focus, boost energy, and decrease appetite. The drug has been abused by college students who want extra help staying awake and studying. Black Beauty is also highly coveted among women seeking a quick and euphoric way to lose weight.

Unfortunately, amphetamines are highly addictive and are often overused. Taking too many amphetamines can cause cardiovascular problems and even sudden death. Prolonged overuse of amphetamines may also lead to unusual psychological behavior, including beliefs of grandeur, abnormal excitability, thoughts of suicide, and violence.

an image of people learning about the black beauty drug

Popularity and Prevalence

Amphetamines have long been popular in the US. In 1945, the country was producing enough amphetamine tablets to supply half a million Americans with two tablets a day. Production of amphetamine and methamphetamine salts in the US quadrupled between 1949 and 1952. By 1962, it was producing enough amphetamine salts to provide 43 10 mg doses per person, per year on a total population basis.

Today, amphetamines are especially popular among students. A quarter of the people who abuse amphetamines began using them at age 13. Over 4% of eighth graders reported using amphetamines in the last year. By 10th grade, this increases to over 5%, and 11.1% of college-aged students use amphetamines. Though many people have a prescription for amphetamines, 1 in 9 individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 either misuse their prescription or use the drugs without a prescription.

Dangers and Health Risks

Black Beauty pills are extremely addictive. Prolonged use can lead to dependency. Comprised of two Schedule II substances, they have a very high potential for abuse. When Black Beauty pills are taken more often or at higher doses than prescribed, they can cause:

  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Faster breathing.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Aggressive or violent behavior.
  • Abnormal excitability.
  • Insomnia.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Uncontrollable movements.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Psychosis.

It’s important for anyone suffering from amphetamine addiction to seek professional help. This form of drug abuse often begins with a prescription and spirals out of control. Having the support and supervision of a medical professional when detoxing from these addictive substances is crucial.

Treatment Options and Resources

It’s very difficult for individuals to quit taking the Black Beauty drug because it’s extremely habit-forming. Doctors advise against stopping the drug abruptly and instead suggest a slow, supervised withdrawal. If you’ve been overusing the medication, you may experience extreme tiredness, severe depression, anxiety, and psychotic reactions if you suddenly stop taking it.

prescription drug detox program is the best way to stop taking amphetamines such as the Black Beauty drug. California Detox offers several programs, including medical detoxification, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, and even virtual rehab. Most programs begin with detox at the rehab facility and progress to outpatient therapy. California Detox has only six beds to ensure that every patient receives personalized attention and 24/7 access to medical staff. This highly specialized facility offers reputable detox and rehabilitation programs for drug addiction.

an image of California detox, where you can get help for addiction to black beauty drug

Professional Detoxification and Recovery

If you’re struggling with amphetamine addiction to the Black Beauty drug or other similar medications, it’s important to seek professional help. It’s not only difficult to detox on your own, but it can also be extremely dangerous. Contact California Detox for a confidential consultation or to learn more about the programs and treatment options available. Located along the beautiful Laguna Beach coast, California Detox provides a peaceful retreat where you can get the help you need to recover from amphetamine addiction.

Close-up, black pill on blue background with white pills by Marco Verch Professional Photographer is licensed with CC BY 2.0


The term “black beauty pill” can refer to different substances, but it’s often associated with amphetamine-based diet pills used in the past, such as those containing dextroamphetamine or methamphetamine.
Black beauty pills are made of Schedule II controlled substances, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which means they are addictive.


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