Op-Ed: Don’t let Adderall scarcity trigger a repeat of the opioid epidemic
(Photo by Tomer Hanuka) A woman stands on the curb at a bus stop at the corner of 10th and Jackson, and looks at the people walking by. A woman with a dog stands on the curb at a bus stop at the corner of 10th and Jackson, and looks at the people walking by. Photo: Tomer Hanuka / Hearst Newspapers
This month, the New York Times reported on the dangers of the widely used and abused drug Adderall — and how it has fueled a growing opioid epidemic in the U.S. The Times reported on the dangers after a family in Maryland was given the stimulant drug to help control their son with ADHD when he was 3 years old. While it wasn’t recommended during that time, the family and doctors failed to realize it could cause serious health problems.
The story is heartbreaking because the boy was not diagnosed with ADHD until a year later and had already been in and out of hospitals during his early childhood.
ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to handle mental and academic activities independently and in a timely manner. Children with ADHD often struggle with inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and impulsivity; they don’t always follow rules and need to be constantly reminded to finish their work because of their difficulty with organization.
“Adderall works by causing increased levels of dopamine in the brain, which promotes alertness and focus,” says Dr. Stephen Zweigenbrink, Director of the Pediatric Center at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. “These drugs are considered to be short-acting and, like caffeine, it takes a bit of time before the effects hit, compared with the time it takes to get the effects of a more conventional drug.”
Like many people who use stimulant drugs like Adderall, the boy experienced a series of side effects. They included irritability, nausea, fatigue, a loss of appetite, dizziness, insomnia, and a rapid heart rate. “These are common side effects of long-acting stimulants like Ritalin and Ritalin XR,” says Zweigenbrink, adding that