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This ad for look-alike stimulants appeared in the magazine High Times. "White crosses" and "blacks" are slang terms for tablets and capsules of amphetamines.

Several years ago, I fell madly in love with an ex-smoker, a man who, though broad-minded in other respects, was a fanatic on the subject of cigarettes ... I had always thought I'd be able to kick my addiction to cigarettes for someone I loved. That assumption turned out to be wrong. In the end, when forced to choose between love and cigarettes, I chose cigarettes. It was that simple. I did make one resolution at the time, which I have stuck to ever since. It was that I would never again become involved with a man who does not smoke cigarettes.

— forty-one-year-old woman, teacher occurs in a desert shrub and is used as a treatment for asthma.* Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a synthetic drug that is added to many cold remedies as a nasal decongestant. Recently, it has appeared in a number of over-the-counter diet pills, and although the manufacturers of these products claim it is not a stimulant, it is.

Look-alike drugs have received much bad publicity. They are accused of killing some people by causing strokes and disturbances of heartbeat. People with high blood pressure or histories of heart irregularities should be wary of them (as they should be of all stimulants). Since caffeine and ephedrine are generally considered safe after many years of use, phenylpropanolamine is more likely to account for any toxicity of look-alike stimulants. Although it is currently authorized for inclusion in many over-the-counter compounds, its risks may be underestimated, especially when it is combined with caffeine and ephedrine or taken in high doses. (People who like amphetamines usually find the effects of look-alikes disappointing and so tend to take higher than recommended doses in an effort to feel more stimulation and euphoria.)

Another drawback of look-alikes is their cost: they are a very expensive way to buy the drugs they provide.

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