As teens head off to college this fall, an alarming new report reminds parents and physicians that keeping grades up aren’t the only concerns for families.
Since early adolescence, some of these students have been taking medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Others will start taking them in college even though they have never been diagnosed with the mental disorder because they will hear from friends that drugs like Ritalin and Adderall can help them stay more focused when studying and taking tests.
A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals that 23,000 young adults visited an emergency room in 2011 for ailments related to using ADHD drugs. This was more than four times the number of young adults, 5,600, that visited the Emergency Room in 2005.
Students who suffer from ADHD and are properly taking their prescribed medicine may be pressured by so-called friends trying to get them to share their drugs so they can improve their own grades. A worst case scenario would be that someone would be bullied into giving over these pharmaceuticals.
Researchers today say that over half of students that get their ADHD drugs without a prescription get them from a friend or relative. Only 17 percent said they had to purchase them from an acquaintance.
Researchers also find that even ADHD prescriptions are rising. In 2011, there were 48.4 million prescriptions written for ADHD medications. Kids are asking for more medicine and getting it. In 2011, nearly 14,000 more prescriptions were given out each month than in 2007.
Emergency room statistics revealed that the number of ADHD-related visits often was associated with alcohol use. Thirty percent of the ADHD medication-related ER visits in the 2011 study involved alcohol use.
As teens move into their later years of high school and then college, there are often opportunities to drink. When a student who believes they are responsibly taking an ADHD medication drinks alcohol they are putting their body and mind at risk.