Why are more kids than ever before overdosing on ADHD drugs in America?
Did you know that the number of U.S. children unnecessarily exposed to powerful medications meant to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has gone through the roof over the past few years? In fact, over a 15-year period, unnecessary exposure to ADHD drugs has increased by more than 60% according to reports!
Study on ADHD Drug Exposure
Recently there was a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on ADHD drug exposure and reports to poison control centers indicate:
- In the year 2000, there were 7,018 calls to poison control centers related to an ADHD drug
- In 2014, there were 11,486 calls to poison control centers related to an ADHD drug
The study defines “exposure” to an ADHD drug as “unnecessary ingestions, inhalation or absorption” of ADHD medications. This includes when the exposure to the drug is both accidental and on purpose.
The study examined data from approximately 156,000 poison center calls made over the course of 15 years. Another disturbing aspect of the data they collected showed:
- 82% of the calls were “unintentional exposure”
- 18% were “intentional exposure”
When taking a closer look at the ADHD drug exposure statistics, the researchers focused in on four of the most common medications used to treat ADHD, including:
Ritalin was the ADHD drug with the highest number of exposures.
One of the lead authors of the study is Dr. Gary Smith. When discussing the conclusions made during the study, Smith states:
“What we found is that, overall, during that 15 years, there was about a 60% increase in the number of individuals exposed and calls reported to poison control centers regarding these medications.”
Smith also concludes that one of the more troublesome findings in the study is the severity of the exposures among the adolescents due to intentional exposure. So essentially, 18% of the calls coming into poison centers concerning an ADHD drug were due to kids taking the medications on purpose.
The study also compared these medications across three different age groups:
- 0-5 years
- 6-12 years
- 13-19 years
In the 0-5 year age group, they discovered that unintentional exposure was due to “exploratory behaviors”. However, with children 6-12 years old, exposure was due to:
- “Therapeutic errors”
- “Accidentally taking multiple pills”
Sadly, among the group 13-19 years old, more than 50% of exposures to an ADHD drug were intentional. Researchers note that many teenagers will use these stimulants because.
Even worse is, of all the poison center calls, around 10% resulted in a serious medical outcome. 10% may not seem like a lot, in regards to poisoning from medications any number is too many.
Ups and Downs
Smith did note that there were some ups and downs in the trends concerning ADHD and complications from the medications. For instance, the study notes:
- Between 2000 and 2011- ADHD drug exposures increased by 71%
- Between 2011 and 2014- ADHD drug exposures dropped by 6.2%
It is unclear why there was this decrease in ADHD drug exposure rates. However, some believe it may be due to the fact that warnings from the FDA about the adverse side-effects of ADHD medications could play a big part in it.
Another thing that stands out about this study is that we have also seen a steady increase in the rate of ADHD diagnosis. Case in point, according to new reports:
- 14% of all American children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2014
- Between 2005 and 2014 the number of ADHD diagnoses more than doubled
While it is important to note that these medications can be helpful for some, they can also be extremely dangerous. According to Dr. Benjamin Shain of NorthShore University HealthSystem and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine,
“Adverse effects of taking too much stimulant medication include fast heart rate, increased blood pressure, tremors, and agitation. Worse case scenarios include schizophrenic-like psychosis, heart attack, stroke, seizures and death,”
Shain adds that adverse effects are the same if you do or do not have ADHD, or if you take too much of the medication. So people who are prescribed an ADHD drug still run the risk of suffering through some of these side-effects.
Making Safer Choices
At the end of the day, it is all about making safer choices for yourself or your loved one. When it comes to treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, there are other important elements. Various therapies can be helpful in creating a more comprehensive treatment plan, such as:
Ironically, these same therapies are also extremely helpful for those who may find themselves abusing these kinds of prescription medications. People suffering from substance use disorder can benefit greatly from these opportunities.
Because these ADHD drugs are stimulants, they also have a tendency to be abused. Either by those with a medical prescription who use too much of the drug or by those with no medical need who use them for the feelings of energy and focus they get. Again, in the case of prescription stimulant abuse, the beginning of a path to recovery means making safer choices. One of the best choices you can make is to seek professional and effective treatment options.
Palm Partners Recovery Center believes in providing innovative and personalized treatment options to anyone battling with substance abuse or addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
With drug abuse being a major issue facing the nation, education is extremely important. Any hope of winning the fight against rising overdose rates and the spread of drug-related illness and death starts with making sure we have as much information as possible to make a difference. On that note, explaining prescription drug abuse is critical because prescription drug abuse is a key contributor to the state of the country today.
If we want to help people avoid prescription drug abuse, or recognize the signs and know there is help, it is important to explain the reality and the risks.
What is prescription drug abuse?
Simply put- prescription drug abuse is one of two things.
- When someone takes a medication that is not their prescription
- If someone takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason
When you take prescription drugs properly they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs.
These drugs have a close relation to morphine, or the street drug heroin. Opioids are typically for pain management. Opioid addiction has become one of the biggest problems facing the country today. Drugs such as:
These drugs are also known as “downers”. You can divide the category can be up into:
Drugs such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol are meant to reduce symptoms of mental illness.
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
Prescription drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Librium.
Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal are included in a class of depressants intended as sedatives or sleeping pills.
These kinds of prescription drugs are also called “uppers” or “smart drugs” because of the increase alertness, attention and energy. They also increase heart rate and respiration. Many of these medications are used to combat conditions such as ADHD, including:
Prescription drug abuse has become a big health issue because of the various health hazards. This risk is particularly true of abusing prescription pain medications.
Who abuses prescription drugs?
When asking who are most likely to abuse prescription drugs, the answer may vary depending on the substance. Some people end up participating in prescription drug abuse due to an injury or legitimate health reason, but the “high” they can experience may lead to more frequent use and ultimately a physical dependence.
Recent studies have indicated that prescription drug abuse impacts young adults most; specifically age 18 to 25. In regards to teens, after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common substances of abuse by Americans age 14 and older.
Prescription drug abuse is present across all demographics, relevant to every social and economic class. Many believe this rise has largely contributed to the heroin addiction epidemic and the overdose outbreak in the past few years.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
The Palm Partners Treatment Program has a design for prescription drug abuse intended to address people of all walks of life who are suffering. Personalized recovery programs are meant to work with each individual’s circumstances and symptoms to create a blueprint for the future.
Some of the signs of addiction range in severity and can affect each people differently, especially depending on the specific prescription drug. Increased tolerance is a clear cut sign of progressive physical dependence. Some indicators of prescription drug addiction may be:
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Chronic constipation
- Respiratory distress
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
Treatment for prescription drug addiction includes a detox period to help combat the uncomfortable symptoms of prescription drug addiction, as well as withdrawal.
For all those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse, or even abusing other drugs or medications, there is a massive community of recovery all over the country to help you get the care you need. Treatment for prescription drug abuse can be the first and most important step, so be sure to step up.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
High Score or scoring a high?
Drug testing has found its way into a variety of demographics in the pro sports world. From football to mixed martial arts sports franchises have actively implemented drug testing policies this year which call for more rigorous testing tactics, and many athletes on different fields have been put in the spotlight for abusing substances both recreational and performance enhancing.
Surprisingly, we are now going to start seeing this practice being carrying over into so-called e-sports, putting those who play video games professionally in the same position.
Despite the typical stereotype we consider about most pro gamers, and how we don’t initially imagine them to be all that athletically inclined, this week The Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced it will be enacting a drug testing policy for performance enhancing substances at future events.
The Game Changer
So why would they drug test gamers if they aren’t physically required to compete beyond the control of their counsels?
The inspiration behind this new initiative to make drug testing policies all came after a top professional player for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive named Cory “Semphis” Friesen admitted last week that he and other members of his former team used Adderall during a tournament. During an interview after a big victory Semphis was quoted as saying:
“I don’t even care. We were all on Adderall. I don’t even give a ****. It was pretty obvious, like if you listen to the comms. People can hate it or whatever.”
The event was a tournament last March in Poland, and there was a whopping $250,000 up for grabs to gamers able to handle their high-scores! That is a pretty decent sized award for button-mashing, so the fact he and his team were on drugs during the game has some people a little upset. Not to mention Semphis’s complete disregard for the concerns brought forth by others.
This isn’t the first time these kinds of blatant comments about abusing ‘smart drugs’ has happened in pro gaming either.
A prescription psychostimulant, Adderall is administered to help people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also not uncommon for this drug to be abused, and it is very hazardous to those who misuse it.
Because Adderall is designed to enhance cognitive abilities and improve focus, so in terms of a sport where you rely heavily on hand-eye coordination, along with other cognitive function it can be assumed this kind of drug would enable the attention to detail and instantaneous reaction times that it takes to excel in the field of competitive gaming. So it could truly be considered a performance enhancing drug in this context.
Even more disturbing is the way the interviewer so nonchalantly promoted abusing drugs in his commentary, stating:
“Everyone does Adderall at [the gaming competition] ESEA LAN. Just throwing that out there for the fans. It’s how you get good.”
Yea… way to go. Tell the kids at home all it takes to get good enough to make big money playing Call of Duty is to pop pills… because that’s totally smart.
The Future of Gaming
Anna Rozwandowicz is the ESL Head of Communications, and in a recent email she pointed out a few of the focus points, and told reporters more details of the new policy will be shared soon, but that it will involve:
- Drugs policing
- Prevention among participants
At this point Semphis and his team aren’t actually in any danger, because there is no way to prove they were under the influence of any substance since ESL didn’t have formal drug use policies at the time. Rozwandowicz said,
“We have no way of knowing whether Semphis, despite what he said, has actually taken Adderall or not. We can’t punish someone if we are not 100% sure he is guilty. And as we have no way to test it anymore, we won’t take action in this specific case.”
It’s unclear how ESL’s plans for drug testing will affect other organizations in the gaming world, but so far The Cologne, Germany-based organization said the random drug tests would begin at its ESL One Cologne tournament in August.
As this story develops, one can’t help but wonder how people can be so intent on finding ways to cheat their way through a competition. Then there is the wonder of how many gamers have ended up addiction to a harmful substance just to get a leg-up in a tournament.
Now on the flip side some researchers are even questioning how effective these ‘smart drugs’ really are, and at the end of the day drug abuse takes far more from our lives than it could EVER give us. Lives are lost every day, and those who are able to survive often struggle to do so. But there is a solution. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The meaning of life isn’t spelled out for anyone, it doesn’t necessarily exist in terms of black and white or wrong and right… because the meaning of your life always depends on the design you give it, or the words and feelings you use to define it; often leaving shades of grey area between opinions and their oppositions. Our passion for personal truth is an integral aspect of the meaning of life, which is best discovered through genuinely living it and experiencing every second with fulfillment. So is it really so crazy to assume that drug abuse is stealing the meaning of life from us?
Here I want to look closely at stimulants, or ‘smart drugs’ which can positively alter how we experience activities, and when taken consistently narcotics of this nature might instill in us tolerance for a long-term circumstance by regularly creating an artificial sense of interest.
Torben Kjaersgaard recently published a paper called Enhancing Motivation by Use of Prescription Stimulants: The Ethics of Motivation Enhancement focused on a more personal concern: are these smart drugs corrupting our reasoning for the meaning of our lives?
His target substances were infamous smart drugs used to treat ADHD and wakefulness disorder-drugs such as Adderall and Modafinil. It is true these drugs give people with conditions like ADHD a cognitive boost, but abusing smart drugs has become pretty popular, so how many lives are being stolen by these pills designed for productivity?
Are They Helping?
When you look at the evidence, despite consistent claims contrary to the data, these ‘smart drugs’ have a questionable reputation, with mixed rates (at best) of actually enhancing the cognitive abilities of off-label (not prescribed) users.
In the case of drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, data from over 50 experiments testing the effects of these smart drugs on cognition among healthy, young adults found a barely even mixture of significant and insignificant results, with reason to believe many other insignificant results go unreported.
In the case of Modafinil, regarded as the more potent smart drug, little evidence exists that it has any significant cognitive effect on healthy participants. To the contrary, 2 recent studies determined Modafinil actually slows down the response time of users in certain tasks and hinders creative thinking.
So out of the house-hold names for smart drugs, it seems they are highly over-rated in recreational use. So why is it so many people insist they work when abused?
Most people surveyed actually point to a sense of urgency and artificial interest in an otherwise meaningless task at hand. If anything, these results aren’t showing improvement in recall or learning abilities, people just feel more driven. That boring project or grunt work becomes interesting, enjoyable, or even entrancing.
Smart Drugs Stealing Our Lives?
This is where we find Kjaersgaard’s question, which initially may sound more abstract:
What part of ourselves do we risk by using substances that enhance our interest in certain pursuits which we would otherwise find alienating, uninspiring and meaningless?
In a way Kjaersgaard is concerned about the impact of these drugs on our moods and motivations, and even questions if these drugs are cognitive enhancers at all.
Could we as a society end up leading deeply inauthentic lives, using willpower and interest contrived by pharmaceuticals just to get by in a life that otherwise means nothing to us?
Most sentiments expressed by users about the effects of smart drugs are in line with a group of research suggesting the impact of these drugs, if any at all, it’s largely subjective.
One study on the effects of Adderall failed to find cognitive enhancement effects, but what it did find was that users tended to believe their performance was enhanced compared to those given a placebo.
Similarly for Modafinil, evidence suggests the drug induces a subjective impression of better cognitive functioning without actually improving functionality.
So what does this mean?
It tells us it is safe to say smart drugs act on our moods and dispositions in a way that makes us feel up to the task at hand without actually making us more capable. We are NOT smarter, we are just motivated.
Coming full-circle, we look at this on a deeper level. A lack of motivation or inspiration in our life is symptomatic of a deeper problem: we are not truly fulfilled or happy with our lives!
So is it justifiable to use a smart drug, or really any drug at the end of the day, to chemically convince ourselves to accept a job or a study that does not fulfill us?
The lack of motivation for your job might be an intrinsic impulse created by our inner selves, alerting us to an alienation from our life’s true meaning. Living incongruity between who we are and what we do is sometimes a reality, but are smart drugs and narcotic stimulants just another way to make ourselves submissive to it?
Does drug abuse force us into a life we don’t want to live?
Using a pill to get by are we numbing ourselves to a simple sense our spirit is sending us… trying to tell us we are not happy, we are not complete, and we are not living how we want?
Some might say abusing smart drugs can be justified because the way the world works some of us have to commit to a deeply alienating job, so why not at least use something to enjoy it. But if our options are limited purely due to unjust socio-political forces don’t “motivation enhancing drugs” start to look more like “political complacence pills”.
Sounds like a page from a novel on a dystopian future ruled with political influence interfering with personal growth and discovery. This logic paints Adderall like a plot device derived from Aldous Huxley.
A world addicted to smart drugs doesn’t need to strive for a better world, it just artificially adapts itself to enjoy the otherwise unenjoyable and unjust in order to keep people in line.
It seems like stepping back to take all this in, abusing drugs is just a way we trap ourselves in a life that holds no meaning to us.
Addiction is like that, we numb ourselves to our circumstances for lack of a better world, but the truth is we have all the capacity in the world to change it. It is a cop-out to having to take responsibility for our own destinies and pursue our own fulfillment.
The truth behind it, or at least my truth… drugs don’t make a better world, we do.
Life is like everything else, it only has as much meaning as we give it.
In the fight against drugs and alcohol, people lose their lives every single day, using drugs trying to escape a life they probably find has lost its meaning not knowing there is something much greater waiting for them on the other side of recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, chose life, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Let’s face it, we live in the digital age, and to so many people Google.com is our answer to everything! We google our movies, our music, our food and even pages upon pages of cat photos. We even talked once about how so many people use google to self-diagnose their illnesses that Google is creating an option to connect browsers directly to doctors to provide a slightly more accurate approach.
So tracking Google searches is a good way to find out what people are searching, what’s trending, and what to do when your cat gets a cold at a given time. Well apparently, Google search statistics can also be collected and analyzed using ‘Google Trends’ to show us what drugs people in America are doing and where, or what drugs the most people in one area are ‘curious’ about at least.
National Drug Google Data
According to the combined data that began in 2004, cocaine is actually the most searched for drug across the country over the past decade. Interesting enough, the drug crystal meth is steadily rising across the board, and searches for heroin and prescription drugs have become more common in the last five years. That should come as no surprising given that the country has been experiencing what many have dubbed an ‘opiate epidemic’, and prescription painkillers are currently public enemy number one in regard to overdose accidents in emergency rooms.
Meth has already been prevalent in the Midwest since 2004, but it didn’t get any surge of searches in other parts of the country until 2012. Adderall interest surged in recent years across the nation, but especially on the East Coast of the country.
Typically official crime rates and hospital statistics provide some good insight into drug abuse across the United States, but this accumulative data brought together by Google also reveals the extent of an illicit substances popularity on a state-by-state basis.
Mathamphetamine (Crystal Meth)
- During the 2000’s methamphetamine was reported as one of the most commonly abused drugs in the nation, and at one point meth even managed to surpass cocaine as it swept across Middle America.
- There was a spike in meth searches in 2005 and 2006. At the height of the it was the single most searched for drug in dozens of states.
- In the years 2013 and 2014 particularly interest in meth once again soared. These were the years when searches for meth took over the US, especially the west.
- Searches for the anxiety medication Xanax have also risen throughout the Midwest and south.
- Searches for Xanax first appeared in around 2009, and grew in popularity until around 2012, when they dipped.
- Then again Xanax searches made a comeback in 2013. Xanax-related hospital visits have doubled across the country over the past six years.
- In 2010 the prescription stimulant commonly prescribed for ADHD called Adderall became another popular substance of abuse.
- In between 2011 and 2012 Adderall was the only drug that came close to the number of Google searches for cocaine.
- 2013 and 2014 Adderall dominated the eastern states.
- Heroin was steadily searched for from 2004 until 2011.
- 2006 showed a spike searches for heroin in a few states including Maryland and Utah.
- As addictive prescription painkillers have become more tightly regulated, heroin has become an increasingly popular substitute in Pennsylvania and Oregon.
- After prescription opiate regulation started to step up to combat ‘pill mills’ and ‘doctor shopping’ the searches for heroin across the board began to rise, and reached a peak last year in 2014 as the opiate epidemic rages on.
State by State Basis
All the drugs studied have been rising since the end of 2009, except cocaine which has been on a bit of up and down from 2009-2012, and then up again from 2012 until now. When measuring the most popular searches for specific drugs in select states, researchers also came up with some interesting data. The top searches in some states are as follows:
- Los Angeles, California- Meth and LSD
- Pennsylvania- Heroin
- Massachusetts- Suboxone (a replacement opiate drug commonly used to wean off heroin use, but also commonly abused)
- New Orleans- Adderal
- New York- Cociane
- Seattle- OxyContin and ‘Magic Mushrooms’
- Virginia- Painkiller Oxycodone
- Florida- MDMA
With numbers like these, we can determine that while not every drug is becoming popular everywhere, there are some clear indications that a few have made their mark all over the map.
Granted some people who Google these drugs may be looking for treatment, they may be trying to help a loved one, they may even be writing a term paper or doing some other form of academic research, but for the most part you can assume that these drugs are being searched in these areas for a reason. We can only hope that the number of searches for treatment is rising as part of these statistics.
Like it or not, the world is still searching for the answers to the drug problem. The internet is speculated to be both part of the problem and part of the solution, but any way you look at it there is a need in this nation for some change. Each of us has the ability to take some action, we just need to commit to that first step toward a different future. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135