A prescription drug for Attention Deficit Disorder is getting a lot more attention lately, for all the wrong reasons.
You've probably heard of the drug, Adderall. You might have heard about how it's often misused by people who it wasn't prescribed for. A new study better pinpoints who is misusing and what it is doing to them.
The prescription, known mostly to treat kids with ADD, is especially popular among young adults, like college and high school students.
Cleveland State University student Taylor Hetsler knows all about it.
"Oh, absolutely. Yeah. My boyfriend just got some, too. I know a lot of people who say they need it," said Hetsler.
More and more young adults say they need it to focus, which makes it the new "go to" study aid on campus, with students getting it from each other!
"A lot of people get it prescribed and then they just give it to their friends," said CSU student Gage Byington.
With students openly talking about it, doctors, like Max Wiznitzer, a neurologist with University Hospitals, addresses the growing concern.
"It's concerning any time somebody does not use a medication appropriately," he said.
Several reports on a new study in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry send serious red flags, such as in a five-year period, the sharing of Adderall among young adults increased 67 percent and emergency room visits blamed on the drug went up almost 156 percent.
Dr. Wiznitzer understands why.
"It's working. It improves their attention span, helps them focus, gets them through their test, gets them through their work," he explained.
But when it's bought on the streets or obtained from anyone besides a doctor, he stresses there's potential for serious harm.
"If you are not using Adderall correctly, it can be dangerous. If you are using too high a dose, it can affect your blood pressure. It can cause heart damage. You can get brain damage even," said Wiznitzer.
In some cases, irreversible damage is reported. So while it might help, it could also hurt more.
The doctor believes many of those who are getting Adderall from the streets and find it helpful might really need it or have undiagnosed ADD. All the more reason, he says, to get to a doctor and do it the right way.
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