A recent study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teen prescription drug abuse has tripled. According to Joseph Califano, chairman and founder of the Center, “The substances most likely to be abused were opioids, or pain relievers like OxyContin or Vicodin; central nervous system depressants such as Valium or Xanax; stimulants including Ritalin or Adderall and anabolic-androgenic steroids like Anadrol or Equipoise.” The study showed that in 2003, 2.3 million 12 to 17-year-olds (nearly one in 10) abused at least one prescription drug and that girls were more likely to abuse than boys.
This information coupled with the fact that the FDA has recently stated that they plan to change the warning labels on methylphenidate drug products such as the ADHD medication Concerta (also known as Ritalin) is enough to cause alarming concern. Their statement made on June 30th of this year reads, “The FDA has identified two possible safety concerns with the methylphenidate drug products: psychiatric adverse events and cardiovascular adverse events.” The FDA plans to do further research before changing the warning labels and in addition, research similar medications like Adderall.
It is a tough call to make. The “naysayers” have been screaming for years about the negative side effects of ADD/ADHD medications. Yet, with the pressures from teachers, school functions, homework, etc. something has to be done. The doctors suggest Ritalin, Concerta or Adderall. Your child may already be on one of these prescription medications with some success and you don’t want to disrupt their progress. There is definitely a lot to consider when medicating your child with an ADD/ADHD medication.