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Adderall Abuse and Addiction Statistics

Who Abuses Adderall?
Studies have found that full-time college students are twice as likely to abuse Adderall as their peers who are not in college. These users are also more likely to use other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. More than half of young people in one survey said they got their Adderall from a friend.

Adderall has been referred to as the “smart drug” in the past, but when you consider the psychological and physical consequences of the drug’s abuse, the term seems quite off base. Adderall is a commonly prescribed stimulate, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but its non-medical benefits have been the reason for its abuse, as it is reported to increase focus, suppress appetite and decrease the need for sleep.  It is especially popular on college campuses.

Adderall Abuse on College Campuses

Regardless of Adderall’s perceived benefits, it is an amphetamine, and under the Controlled Substance Act, Adderall is a Scheduled II controlled substance. By definition, this means that the drug runs a high risk of abuse and dependence.  You may have used Adderall, as many have, and felt the immediate benefits, only to use more for the same desired effect, finding yourself preoccupied with the drug and, overall, finding it hard to function naturally without it. For a drug meant to increase focus, the drug can eventually take it all away. But you are not alone, and it is understood now that addiction to Adderall is medically comparable to addiction to cocaine and other amphetamines.

Adderall’s non-medical use and abuse is a highly documented problem on many campuses. According to a study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, there was substantial evidence that, not only did colleges have a growing problem with Adderall abuse, but there was also a direct correlation to its abuse and other types of drug abuse.

College Adderall Abuse Statistics

The study found that full-time college students, between the ages of 18 and 22, were twice as likely to abuse Adderall than those of the same age not in college (6.4 percent versus 3.0 percent).

Individuals using Adderall non-medically in college were also:

  • Three times as more likely to have used marijuana in the past year (79.9 percent versus 27.2 percent)
  • Eight times more likely to have used cocaine (28.9 percent versus 3.6 percent)
  • Eight times more likely to have used tranquilizers non-medically (24.5 percent versus 3 percent)
  • Five times more likely to have used painkillers non-medically (44.7 percent versus 8.7 percent)
  • Ninety percent of those using Adderall non-medically were reported binge drinkers and more than 50 percent were reported to be heavy drinkers

The concern of the growing trend of Adderall abuse is a warranted one. Although you may have found the benefits early in use, you may now find yourself dependent. It is important to seek treatment if you or a loved one has become preoccupied with Adderall use.

Many young users get prescription stimulants from a friend

How Prescription Stimulants are AcquiredA lot of people in their 20’s are able to get their hands on ADHD stimulant medications even without a doctor’s recommendation. This is a big issue that can result in rampant misuse. But where do these college-age individuals get access to the medications? A 2016 Recovery Brands survey found that more than 60% of young people 18 to 28 years old get their hands on their doctor-prescribed ADHD stimulant medications from companions. More than 20% acquire them through their family, almost 20% by means of fellow students, and merely 14.8% via a street dealer. Those with a prescription are advised to keep track of their prescription medications used to treat ADHD in order to protect susceptible people from the consequences of stimulant abuse. Read more

Adverse Effects of Adderall Abuse

Just as with any drug that affects your central nervous system, Adderall has some serious mental and physical health risks.

Sudden death has been attributed to Adderall use. As with any amphetamine, the drug has been reported to cause sudden death with people who have heart abnormalities. When you consider these potential consequences, abusing Adderall doesn’t seem worth the perceived benefits.

If you’ve found yourself abusing Adderall, and you’re finding it harder to focus, you should know that you are not alone. Many struggle with Adderall abuse and addiction, but by acknowledging that there may be a problem, you can begin to refocus on your well-being. You can then consider a either a private inpatient or outpatient rehab to help you overcome the problem.

Risks associated with Adderall abuse and nonmedical use include:

  • Seizure
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Psychosis
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sudden death