Study finds significant increase in ADHD medication misuse

1 in 4 middle, high schools abuse ADHD medications

Adderall XR 15 mg capsules are displayed on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. The Biden administration is moving to require patients to see a doctor in person before getting drugs to treat attention deficit disorders or addictive painkillers, toughening access to the medications against the backdrop of a deepening opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane) (Jenny Kane)

The diagnosis of ADHD and treatment with prescription medications have increased substantially in the past couple of decades.

1 in 4 middle and high school students may be abusing ADHS medications, according to a study published on Tuesday in the Jama Network Open journal.

Researchers analyzed data collected between 2005 and 2020 by “Monitoring the Future.” Which is a federal survey that has measured drug and alcohol use among secondary school students nationwide each year for nearly 50 years.

The lead author of the study stated that some schools had little to no misuse of ADHD medications, while in other schools, more than 25% of students had used the stimulants in nonmedical ways.

The medications can be abused to get high or combined with alcohol or other drugs to boost a high.

Schools in the suburbs in all regions of the United States except the Northeast had higher rates of teen misuse of ADHA medications.

Schools with more white students, and those with medium levels of student binge drinking, were also more likely to see teen abuse of stimulants.

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.