According to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), emergency room visits involving non-medical use of stimulant medication, including the ADHD medications Adderall and Ritalin, among young adults aged 18 to 34 quadrupled between 2005 and 2011. Many of these individuals are college students.
ADHD is commonly treated with stimulant medications but in recent years there has been increasing abuse and misuse of these medications. College students often share their own medication with friends, the latter often never having been diagnosed with ADHD.
Two critical aspects of addressing misuse and abuse of ADHD medications is to properly diagnose those who believe they have ADHD via neuropsychological testing and to utilize non-medication treatments for ADHD such as CogMed or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Read more about the government report below or at SAMSA:
Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants include prescription drugs, like those used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or to block sleepiness.1 They also include over-the-counter products that contain caffeine. Non-medical use of these drugs has been linked to heart and blood vessel problems, as well as to drug abuse or dependence.2 When combined with alcohol, CNS stimulants can hide the effects of being drunk and increase the risk of alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related injuries.3
According to data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the number of emergency department (ED) visits related to nonmedical use of CNS stimulants among adults aged 18 to 34 increased from 5,605 in 2005 to 22,949 in 2011. The number of ED visits involving CNS stimulants and alcohol also increased.4 Each year, about 30 percent of ED visits involving non-medical CNS stimulant use also involved alcohol. To learn more about non-medical use of prescription drugs, including ways to prevent misuse, please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/ research-reports/prescription-drugs.
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