In 2014, Oriole Chris Davis was suspended for 25 games after testing positive for Adderall. He’s not the only one recreationally using the an amphetamine used to treat ADHD; according to new research out of Johns Hopkins, an increasing number of young people are abusing the drug.
Researchers looked at the number of Adderall prescriptions written nationwide, as well as the number of emergency room visits that were Adderall related. They found that between 2006 and 2011, the number of prescriptions for young adults (aged 18-25) was unchanged, while the number of drug-related hospitalizations rose by an alarming 156 percent. According to self-reported drug surveys, young people’s use of Adderall went up 67 percent during that period. At the same time, adolescents under age 18 saw a decline in hospitalizations. The results indicate that it’s college students who are at most risk of Adderall abuse, something that’s not surprising considering the drug’s reputation as a study aid.
“Our sense is that a sizeable proportion of those who use them believe these medications make them smarter and more capable of studying,” said study co-author Ramin Mojtabai, a professor of mental health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. “We need to educate this group that there could be serious adverse effects from taking these drugs and we don’t know much at all about their long-term health effects.”