A popular prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is increasingly ending up in the wrong hands. Recent data shows that Adderall abuse is rising in the United States and Hennepin County.
Experts say that only alcohol and marijuana are more commonly abused than prescription drugs like Adderall. High school students are often the most affected.
“I didn’t start really noticing until I was about 15-years-old that I was addicted,” said Steve, who didn’t want his last name known.
Steve was eight years old when Adderall was prescribed to him for ADHD.
“It made my attention very sharp, it made me more alert. Everything was clearer and vivid. “
Steve’s addiction nearly killed him. He took too much of the medication that was supposed to be his help.
“I was so hooked on them that 30 pills in a single day wasn’t enough. “
Brian Aulwes is a prevention specialist for the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. He often visits schools to speak about the dangers associated with Adderall abuse. He is a first-hand witness.
Aulwes stated that the first time he took Adderall and used it was when he was 14.
Although he didn’t have a prescription for the drug, he still took his pills. Aulwes claimed that he obtained the drug from a friend.
“He took his mom’s prescription. “
Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge conducted a survey of nearly 500 students from four West Metro schools. Sixteen percent of respondents admitted to having used prescripton pills.
Adam Pederson, a Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge prevention specialist, said, “One of the largest populations of people who abuse Adderall is your academics all stars in a school,”
Adderall can be called “study drug” and “smart pill”. It helps students stay awake for long hours studying for exams. They are also easy to obtain.
Steve stated that he was able to get what he wanted, whenever he needed it.
“It was nothing to get them. Doc, these aren’t doing it. Can you increase the dose? He said that it was as easy as that.
Students aren’t the only ones who abuse Adderall. According to Hennepin County authorities, it is a serious problem.
“In 2012, we saw about 15 and so many individual cases in which Adderall, the prescription medication, was found in illegal circumstances. This is a departure from the past,” stated Rick Stanek, Hennepin County Sheriff.
Adderall abuse can cause elevated blood pressure or kidney failure. Overdosing can cause cardiac arrest or death.
Adderall users who have abused it say that the effects can last for many years.
“Drugs, especially prescription drugs, are just something that I can’t handle, and I still don’t know how to do it.” Because of what happened to my family when I was younger, I refuse to take Advil. said Steve.
Sonya Goins, reporting
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