> There are other tables, such as the messages table, that have 10s of 
> thousands of rows and they return records much more quickly.

> There must be something seriously wrong for simple queries like this to take 
> so long.   

Have you run VACUUM recently?

If not, run VACUUM FULL against the users table and see if that makes a

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TIP 9: the planner will ignore your desire to choose an index scan if your
      joining column's datatypes do not match

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