8 to 12 percent of children are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) each year. Yet a much higher percent is raising concern for misuse of the prescription drugs used to treat ADHD.
A research study shows that calls to National Poison Control center relating misuse of ADHD prescribed drugs among kids aged 10 to 18 have increased by 75% since ten years ago.
Dr. Alanna Levine points out during The Early Show interview, that the increase is a result of more awareness around ADHD condition. Doctors are quick to prescribe the medication used to treat ADHD, commonly known as mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), with clear beneficial and yet addictive qualities.
“The more we prescribe the medication, the more it is out there in the community, and the more there is a risk for abuse.”
“Teens experience a performance enhancing high – they want to study longer and stay up later for example. Some kids are using the drugs for their appetite suppressant qualities to lose weight.”
Parents are not always aware of the distribution among kids, as long as they see an improvement in their child’s school report card, points out Tom Hedrick, one of the founding members of The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
“Right now, parents may feel a sense of relief that their kids are taking medicines and not street drugs. But what we really have is the perfect storm because there’s a lack of awareness and an ease of availability.”
The problems center around misuse among children that do not require these chemically generated substances.
“These drugs are just as dangerous, just as addictive and just as deadly as illicit drugs.”