In some middle and high schools in the United States, about 1 in 4 students report misuing prescription stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, during the year prior, according to a new study.
In the study, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers found non-medical use of prescription stimulants ranged from 0% to more than 25% across U.S. secondary schools.
“Students attending schools with the highest rates of stimulant therapy for ADHD had 36% increased odds of non-medical prescription stimulant use compared with students attending schools with the lowest rates,” the study noted.
Misuse can be defined as the medication being taken in a way other than as directed by a clinician.
“The drug supply has rapidly changed, and what looks like medications — bought online or shared among friends or family members — can contain fentanyl or other potent illicit substances that can result in overdoses. It’s important to raise awareness of these new risks for teens,” said National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow in a press release about the study. “It’s also essential to provide the necessary resources and education to prevent misuse and support teens during this critical period in their lives when they encounter unique experiences and new stressors.”
The researchers used data collected between 2005 and 2020 by the Monitoring the Future study, a large, federally-funded survey of adolescents and teens about drug and alcohol use.
Stimulant medications for treating ADHD include well-known brand names like Ritalin, Adderall and others, as well as generics. Volkow’s statement describes stimulant therapy as an “evidence-based treatment for ADHD,” but notes, “it can also be harmful if used without prescription or guidance from clinicians.”
Non-medical use of these drugs among teens is more prevalent than misuse of any other prescription drug, including opioids, Volkow said.
Prolonged stimulant misuse can lead to negative impacts including cardiovascular conditions, depressed mood, overdoses, psychosis, anxiety, seizures and stimulant use disorder, the statement adds.
This study arrives as drug shortages have left ADHD medications in short supply at many pharmacies around the country. Last month, the FDA issued a warning about a shortage in the active ingredients used to manufacture Adderall.
Source : Yahoo