An investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today shows abuse of ADHD drugs is on the rise. Over 19,000 people have suffered from complications related to consuming drugs such as Adderall in the U.S. since 2013 to treat their ADHD.
One of the biggest problems involved in the spread of stimulant addictions is doctors being too willing to diagnose people with ADHD, and subsequently prescribe them drugs they don’t need for a condition they don’t have. ADHD prescription drug abuse develops an unhealthy tolerance, which leads users to illicit drugs like crystal meth and cocaine.
More people are dying from abuse of both legal and illegal stimulants, to the point that the death toll for both types of substances combined has gone up 22 percent per year on average since 2008. In comparison, ADHD prescriptions have risen 29.2 percent from 2010 to 2015, and sales of ADHD drugs have risen almost 41.8 percent in the same time.
“Doctors get more patients; patients have their symptoms ‘medically explained’ and pharma has a new group of people to use their medications,” Dr. Lewis Nelson of Rutgers University Medical School told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Many in the medical community are speculating that the abuse of stimulant drugs is becoming the next nationwide drug epidemic. Rutgers’ Psychiatry Chair Petros Levounis says, “Medicine has a huge responsibility with what happened with the prescription opioid epidemic.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness medical director and psychiatrist Ken Duckworth agrees with Levounis, and believes stimulant drug abuse seems, “like it’s an under-the-radar epidemic.”
Years of study and research eventually came to prove in the opinion of Columbia University psychiatry professor Dr. Carl L. Hart that d-amphetamine (also known as Adderall) and methamphetamine are basically the same. Hart bluntly states in a piece for Vice News that, “It took me nearly 20 years and dozens of scientific publications in the area of drug use to recognize my own biases around methamphetamine. I can only hope that you don’t require as much time and scientific activity in order to understand that the Adderall that you or your loved one takes each day is essentially the same drug as meth.”