News: General Press

Increase in medication abuse among adolescents

Source: Health (by José Luis Pereyra) / Date: August 28th 2009 / Category: General Press


An article published in the USA has called attention on a strong increase in telephone calls to poison control centers, which suggests a growing problem regarding abuse and bad use of stimulating medication sold with prescription to adolescents. Also, the sales data of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications, suggests that it may be used as amphetamines by adolescents, especially students.

“ADHD is a disease that must be treated correctly” states Dr. Jennifer Setlik, of the Cincinnati Children`s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio; “However, we must be aware of the increased use and bad use of ADHD medication…in adolescents…that use their friend`s prescription…it`s more common that adolescents abuse of alcohol or marijuana. But this is a medication commonly prescribed for ADHD and its misuse may extend”

ADHD affects between 8% and 12% of children and 4% of adults worldwide. Recently, there has been a significant increase in ADHD diagnosis and in the use of prescribed stimulants.

According to the National Survey on Health and Drug Use, last year, 9% of adolescents of 12 to 17 years use prescribed medication for non-clinical purposes, including 2% that admitted the non-clinical use of stimulating medication (e.g. for exams)

According to Dr. Setlik, doctors must inform parents that medication has to be put away carefully, they have to know how many pills are left, how long they must last, plus have information regarding who may have access to this medication.

“Parents also must seek for medication abuse symptoms, which include restlessness and lack of concentration, and they must talk to their children regarding the risks of using any medication in an improper way” she said.

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