By US Daily Review Staff.
In response to recent headlines regarding the abuse of Adderall and other drugs used to treat ADD/ADHD, BrainPhysics.com partnered with OpposingViews.com to poll readers regarding the recreational use of ADD/ADHD medication. The general market audience of OpposingViews.com responded in force, indicating that many of them are not only familiar with the problem but have used these drugs for recreation.
In response to the question, “Have you ever taken ADD medication recreationally?” 23.9% of respondents said,”Yes,” and 76.1% said, “No.” The poll ran from June 7 to June 20 on OpposingViews.com and garnered 1,145 responses. The margin of error for the findings is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Over the past decade, ADD/ADHD diagnoses have risen 66 percent, according to a Northwestern Medicine Study published in the March/April issue of Academic Pediatrics. An increased availability of prescribed amphetamines, such as Adderall, has followed along with a dramatic increase in nonmedical use. Witness these statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- Nearly 90% of the full-time college students who had used Adderall nonmedically in the past year also were past month binge alcohol drinkers and more than half were heavy alcohol users.
- Students under the legal drinking age who used Adderall were also more likely to be binge drinkers or heavy drinkers than their underage counterparts.
- In the past year, full-time college students who had used Adderall nonmedically in the past year were 8 times more likely to use tranquilizers nonmedically (24.5% vs. 3%)
These facts beg the question of whether Adderall and similar drugs are appropriate treatments for ADD/ADHD. Dr. Cheryl Lane, who spent several years conducting therapy with children, adolescents, and adults in a community mental health clinic, saw many individuals who struggled with the debilitating effects of ADD and ADHD. She takes a cautious approach to the use of ADD medications:
“It’s very unfortunate that some ADD medications, like many prescription drugs, are abused when they end up in the wrong hands. However, these medications can be very beneficial for some individuals. That being said, therapy and other non-pharmaceutical approaches should generally be the primary course of treatment for anyone with ADD or ADHD, as these medications do have side effects and their long-term effectiveness is questionable. Due to their high potential for abuse, they should always be prescribed with caution and kept in a locked medicine cabinet or other secure place.”
While other informal surveys have shown that high school students are using Adderall to boost their ability to study, BrainPhysics.com was interested in looking at a general market audience’s use of ADD/ADHD drugs for recreational purposes. The results support the hypothesis that this is a widespread problem as do a spate of recent headlines:
“Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill” (New York Times, June 9)
“More teens use pills to lift grades” (The Boston Globe, June 10)
“Is Adderall America’s new gateway drug?” (Vibe, June 12)
“Drugs for Grades – The tame, constricted rebellion that is Adderall addiction” (Slate.com, June 19)
“The Biggest Unanswered Question About ADHD Drug Abuse” (Forbes, June 11)
These sources report that the use of these drugs appears to be common. The supply chain starts with those who have prescriptions, then trickles down. Students have been known to fake having ADD/ADHD to get their own prescription or simply get drugs from someone who has a legitimate prescription.
This ease of access is not surprising, given that in 2011 the number of prescriptions for ADHD patients aged 19-25 increased 28% in 2011. These drugs have been administered to significant numbers of an entire generation and it follows that patterns of use and abuse will continue into adulthood; the use and abuse of ADD/ADHD drugs is no longer just a young person’s problem.
Of course it must be remembered that the use of stimulants to boost concentration is not a new phenomenon. However, the widespread distribution of stimulants for medical treatment is somewhat new, at least in scope, and so is the casual use of drugs like Adderall. Once the domain of bikers and thrill seekers, stimulants now appear to be a college town favorite.
BrainPhysics.com and OpposingViews.com have brought to light the fact that while current news focuses on the use of ADD/ADHD drugs as a “cramming” aid, recreational use is a large and increasing concern.
BrainPhysics.com is one of the internet’s leading sites focused on OCD spectrum disorders, including eating disorders. A vital mental health resource, BrainPhysics.com provides concise, up-to-date news, feature articles and answers to questions about mental health problems..
OpposingViews.com is a multi-dimensional media site that publishes original journalism and opinion along with work from experts around the world. OV also encourages its user base to publish work and engage in discussing the topics of the day.