Are More Young People Becoming Addicted to Amphetamines?

Are More Young People Becoming Addicted to Amphetamines?
Growing access and availability contribute to the development of amphetamine addiction among young adults

Amphetamine-based drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall are commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD. While some young people benefit from taking these prescriptions, others turn to these easily accessible drugs for non-prescription purposes. ADHD diagnoses have increased exponentially. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, only 3% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 were diagnosed with ADHD in 1997. By 2007 that percentage was 9.5, and by 2011 it was 11. With increased use comes increased opportunity for addiction to develop. Children learn from an early age to turn to drugs as first-line solutions to problems rather than secondary or supplemental resources for physical and mental wellness. They learn that prescription drug use is acceptable or even encouraged, and they may continue to approach drug use nonchalantly even when a medical diagnosis and prescription is not involved.

Amphetamines, ADHD and Abuse

Attitude toward amphetamine and other drug use is not the only contributing factor to increasing amphetamine addiction rates among young people. Increasing numbers of diagnoses mean the volume of prescription amphetamines available has increased. Growing access and availability, as well as a national attitude that ignores or even encourages amphetamine use despite clear potential for physical and psychological harm, contribute to the development of addiction. According to the American College Health Association, only “4% to 10% of high school and college students suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” At the same time, Addiction shares that even in 2005, “The life-time prevalence of non-medical prescription stimulant use was 6.9%, past year prevalence was 4.1%” (“Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants Among US College Students”). These abuse rates have only increased, and this means as many people misuse prescription stimulants as need the drug for legitimate medical reasons. Young people may falsify ADHD symptoms to get a prescription, or buy these drugs from friends with prescriptions. Amphetamine abuse changes misconceptions about addiction. Young people do not have to meet with shadowy dealers in alleyways to get amphetamine, and addiction is not relegated to drop-outs or those with disrupted home lives. Addiction shares that, “non-medical use was higher among college students who were male, white, members of fraternities…Rates were higher at colleges located in the north-eastern region of the US and colleges with more competitive admission standards.” Amphetamine addiction is a growing problem, but it is not an isolated problem. Increasing awareness, prevention strategies and treatment opportunities will only help reverse this addiction trend.

Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

If you or the young adult in your life is struggling with amphetamine abuse or addiction, do not deny, minimize or ignore the problem. Take early and immediate action to stop addiction. Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about recovery resources for young adults. We will help you find addiction treatment options geared towards young adults that can work with and around school and college schedules. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so please call now.