ADHD Drugs and Addiction

A community pharmacist shares his insights and opinions on concerns over the risks involved with ADHD medications for children.

This article was originally published on the Pharmacy Times website.

Having a kid with ADHD is no picnic. I know this because my son has been living with the condition ever since he could talk. However, he takes no medication whatsoever to deal with it. It has required an Individual Education Plan and a lot of redirecting, but the kid carries a B+ average and sometimes does even better, depending on the marking period. You practically have to put his fingers in a vise to get him to study, but he does well when he gets down to it.

As a pharmacist, I have seen what ADHD medication can do to patients who get hooked on it, and there is no way I would ever send my kid down that road. An amphetamine-addicted life, with the inevitable psych med regimen to combat drug tolerance depression, is not going to be in the cards for my kid. I understand that there are kids who absolutely need a medication regimen. However, as I said a few columns ago, some parents who opt for medication just want their kids to be quiet so their evenings can be less stressful. I say shame on them, and shame on the pediatricians who go along with their wishes. As far as I am concerned, a medication regimen for ADHD should only be initiated by a developmental pediatrician (DP). A regular pediatrician can then be available to write the scripts, but the plan should always originate with a DP.

I have also noticed that there are more and more adults with ADD. One time, an adult patient came in to the pharmacy to pick up amphetamine salt prescriptions, wired for sound and riding quite the high. I was reminded once again that there is no need to buy drugs on the street when your doctor is willing to write the scripts and your insurance covers the meds.

The way we are treating ADHD is creating a generation of pediatric and adolescent medically directed drug addicts who will more than likely develop into adult medically directed drug addicts. Some may ask what business I have labeling patients as addicts. However, if you have been reading my material for a while, you know that I, too, am a recovering drug addict. All I have to do to experience a stimulant-driven high is drink a lot of coffee and not take my bipolar meds. I know why others like feeling that way, and I call shenanigans on all of this.

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