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More Teens Abuse ADHD Stimulants

Abuse of stimulants prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- particularly amphetamines -- is on the rise among teens, researchers say.

Calls to poison centers about teen victims of prescription ADHD drugs jumped 76% between 1998 and 2005, Jennifer Setlik, MD, of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues reported online in Pediatrics.

"The sharp increase, out of proportion to other poison center calls and general poison center use, suggests a rising problem with abuse, teen abuse, and particularly teen ADHD stimulant medication abuse," the researchers said. "It may be that abuse is rising, or it may be that increased calls are a result of the escalating severity, perhaps reflecting the shift toward amphetamine use."

Teens typically abuse prescription drugs to relieve pain and anxiety, to aid sleep, and to help concentration, believing they're safer than other drugs, they added.

The 76% jump in calls about ADHD medication abuse among teens was greater than the 59% increase in calls for victims of substance abuse generally, and the 55% increase in calls about teen substance abuse.

Within the ADHD stimulant category, amphetamine/dextroamphetamine-related calls increased 476% over the study period while prescriptions jumped 133% for 13- to 19-year-olds.

Source: Medpage Today