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Substance Abuse

Number of ER Visits Related to Non-medical Use of ADHD Medications Soar!

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Ritalin and Adderall can be effective treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when used as directed. But when misused, these ADHD stimulant medications can cause adverse symptoms, such as nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, and cardiovascular or psychiatric problems.

According to The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of emergency room visits involving attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stimulant medications between 2005 and 2010 increased from 13,379 to 31,244. In 2010, non-medical use of ADHD medications accounted for half of all emergency department visits involving ADHD medications.

From 5,212 in 2005, emergency room visits related to non-medical use of ADHD medications nearly tripled at 15,585 in 2010. The rate of increase occurred among those aged 18 and older.

The report also showed the differences in the rates of emergency room visits related to the non-medical use of ADHD medications between males and females. In 2005, 3,770 of these emergency department visits involved males compared to 1,439 involving females. By 2011, 8,650 of these visits involved men while 6,932 involved females.

“ADHD medications, when properly prescribed and used, can be of enormous benefit to those suffering from ADHD, but like any other medication they can pose serious risks – particularly when they are misused,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “This study indicates that a better job has to be done alerting all segments of society – not just the young – that misuse of these medications is extremely dangerous.”

Substance Abuse

Do “Smart Drugs” Really Make You Smart?

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The use of performance-enhancing drugs of an “academic” kind, such as Adderall and Ritalin, is a hot topic nowadays, especially since the fall term has just begun and students across various college campuses and universities are hitting the books once again. We have done a number of posts on this issue, and we continue to read about these drugs and their uses and effects. In doing so we came across a rather interesting feature by University of Texas Health Science Center doctoral student Joshua Gowin on Psychology Today.

RitalinIn the feature, Gowin describes the effects of Adderall and Ritalin to the drugs’ primary receivers: people suffering from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They work by helping the patient focus on an activity at hand without being distracted. As a result, children with ADHD tend to do better in school and have a noticeable improvement in their behavior when taking the drug. These effects are what relatively healthy teenagers and college students would like to achieve in an effort to ahead in their school work, which earned these drugs the nickname “smart drugs”.

It is rather surprising, therefore, when reading further on we found out that taking Adderall did not necessarily spell great academic success. Gowin shared findings presented at the College for Problems of Drug Dependence by Amelia Arria, lead researcher for The College Life Study, which looked into the use of Ritalin and Adderall as study aids. Based on the data, Adderall users do not necessarily get the 4.0 we would think they would be able to get with this extra study boost. It turns out that Adderall users are those who need to cram in a few extra hours of study time because they did not plan ahead to begin with.

So, do smart drugs make one smart? Guess not, because the act of taking these habit-forming drugs probably dispels any attempt at being smart anyway. Bottom line, the surest way towards that A and a 4.0 average is to work hard and manage your time well. There is, indeed, no shortcut to success.

Substance Abuse

Is Your Teen Abusing ADHD Drugs?

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Prescription drug abuse is an increasing problem in teens who’ve begun using the drugs under the assumption that there are little or no harmful effects because they are doctor regulated. The reality is that amid the increasing rates of poisoning related to substance abuse reported to ERs across the country the highest rates are those of teens experimenting with amphetamines. Amphetamines are most commonly prescribed to ADHD sufferers and as a result can be more accessible to teens who are the primary sufferers of the disorder.

Knowing if your child is abusing these drugs can be difficult as its primary symptom is hyperactivity, a symptom that could just as easily be attributed to the high caffeine beverages also favored by teens. Look for your child to be acting anxious, hyperactive and agitated. There’s also a very good chance that they’ll be experiencing the signs of high blood pressure. If any of these symptoms are reported by your child or they seem to be acting abnormally it’s important that you call a doctor or a poison control center to verify if they’ve been poisoned by these medications. You can also use a prescription drug test.

Substance Abuse

ADHD Stimulant Abuse on the Rise in Teens

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According to researchers ADHD drugs (amphetamines specifically) are increasingly abused by teens. This has given rise to a 76% increase in Emergency room cases of poison from the drug in teens, a statistic that is much higher than even that of illegal substance abuse in teens and prescription drug abuse in general. Out of those calls recorded 42% of calls dealing with poison from abusing these drugs were of a serious nature, causing moderate to major effects and in some cases death.

Teens usual use prescription drugs to get better sleep, treat anxiety, and help them with concentration. All of these uses occurring under the mistaken idea that they are safer to use than illegal street drugs. Abuse of these prescriptions has gone up with the more common use of amphetamines for ADHD treatment. It’s also thought that these incidences are more commonly reported because those who use amphetamines are more likely to feel sick from using the drug.