Over the past few years, there has been mounting evidence that some high school students (those without a diagnosis of ADHD) are inappropriately taking stimulant medication (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, Vyvanse) prescribed for other students with ADHD. While this has been a concerning problem on college campuses for some time (some studies suggesting that as many as 50% of college students have taken a non-prescribed stimulant medicine), the emergence of this behavior in younger kids is alarming.
Sometimes pills are being bought from their friends who have prescriptions, sometimes pills are being given away, and sometimes pills are being stolen.
We encourage all older adolescents with prescription medication for ADHD to keep their pills in a safe, secure place. For college students, this may mean in a small safe. For older teens living at home, we think that parents should consider being in charge of the medication, giving out a daily dose each morning.
Additionally, if you have any expired or excess ADHD medication, please dispose of it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, opioids, like Percocet, can be disposed of by flushing them down the toilet. However, stimulants, like Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Vyvanse cannot be disposed of by flushing them. Clean out your medicine cabinet by bringing unused medicines to your local police station (most police stations are able to take the pills and safely handle them). You never know who is going through your medicine cabinet.
For more information go to:
1) Our YouTube video on Prescription Drug Diversion
2) FDA information on drug disposal
3) New York Times article on stimulant abuse in high school
We hope you all have a safe, happy and healthy summer!
All of us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates
“Proactive in your child’s care. Empowering families for over 60 years.”