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Friday, March 14, 2014

Prescription Stimulant Use Rise Amongst Adults

English: Ritalin (Australian packaging)
One aspect of the prescription drug epidemic that is often overlooked is the rise in stimulant use among adults. Drugs that were typically used amongst adolescents for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), have nearly doubled from 2008 to 2012 amongst adults, the New York Times reports.

The data comes from Express Scripts, the largest prescription drug manager in the United States. Express Scripts handles the medication of 90 million Americans, their numbers show that nearly one in 10 adolescent boys is prescribed and ADHD medication. The most common prescription stimulants used are Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. It is not uncommon for adults to use stimulant medications for the completion of everyday tasks.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org released a study which found that one in eight teens reporting they had taken Ritalin or Adderall without a prescription. What’s more alarming is that almost one-third of parents believed prescription stimulants can improve academic performance, even if ADHD is not present.

Despite many government reports that are against prescribing such medications to children, doctors will go ahead with prescribing amphetamines to children if a parent deems it necessary. While these drugs may help children and even adults focus on certain tasks, the long term effects of taking these types of drugs is far from good.

“It’s hard to dismiss the data in this report,” said Brooke Molina, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “There are limitations with every study, but it’s hard to do anything here but conclude that we have a continually forward-marching increase.”

Teenagers and young adults who use prescription stimulants, with or without a prescription, have a higher risk of experimenting with drugs like methamphetamine. As with all drugs that are habit forming, a tolerance develops, which often leads to seeking out something stronger despite the consequences. Many young adults end up seeking treatment for prescription stimulant abuse, even those who had their own prescription for the drugs.  
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