Drug used to treat ADHD being abused in dramatic amounts

Cropped Photo: Patrick Mallahan III / CC BY-SA 3.0 (MGN)
Cropped Photo: Patrick Mallahan III / CC BY-SA 3.0 (MGN)(WKYT)
Published: Feb. 25, 2019 at 6:01 PM EST
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The number of college and high school students who take a stimulant that treats ADHD is hitting alarming levels for some medical experts.

In the past year, about 35 percent of college students have used prescription drug Adderall without a prescription. As many as nine percent of high school students use Adderall without a prescription as well.

WKYT Investigates asked University of Kentucky psychologist Dr. Matthew Neltner about the dangers of its usage.

"When taken as prescribed, not really. But for people who are taking more than the recommended daily amount, then yes, it could cause potentially a number of different problems," Dr. Neltner explained.

Adderall is a Schedule II drug in the same category as cocaine and methamphetamine. Adderall can be an effective treatment for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which usually starts in childhood.

"It has a stimulating effect that's similar to cocaine. You could compare it to that," Dr. Neltner said.

Surprisingly for some, studies show Adderall really only boosts someone's ability to focus by about five percent compared to people who actually need the drug.

A local Lexington pharmacist said he's definitely seen an uptick in the number of people being prescribed Adderall as well. It's no longer just children, but adults as well.

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