ADHD Medication ODs Rising in U.S. Kids, Teens

ADHD Medication ODs Rising in U.S. Kids, Teens

By Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Growing numbers of youthful youngsters are overdosing on stimulant medicines generally used to deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD), a brand new research signifies.

The researchers known as for larger efforts to determine youngsters in danger for overdose, and extra schooling on secure storage of prescription and over-the-counter medicines for fogeys and caregivers.

“Stimulant prescribing has been on the rise among youth, and as more prescribed stimulants are in the public, there is greater potential for misuse among all populations,” mentioned research writer Douglas Roehler, an epidemiologist on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We need a better understanding of effective interventions for youth who are at risk for stimulant overdoses.”

For the research, Roehler’s staff reviewed charts from near 90 million emergency division visits for nonfatal overdoses that befell over three years amongst U.S. youngsters in three age teams: 0 to 10; 11 to 14; and 15 to 24. All age teams skilled a rise in nonfatal overdoses of stimulants, 3.3%, 4% and a pair of.3%, respectively. In the research, suspected stimulant overdoses included each prescription drugs and illicit stimulants equivalent to cocaine.

“Researchers have been seeing a rise in deaths involving stimulants since at least 2016. Those studies found this for youth 15 to 24 years of age, so it was striking to see nonfatal stimulant overdoses among our youngest populations,” Roehler mentioned.

There was a 2% improve in overdoses of all medication, together with opioids, heroin and stimulants, among the many youngest group, and a 2.3% improve amongst youngsters aged 11 to 14, the findings confirmed.

Still, the research authors cautioned, these overdoses are comparatively uncommon. Specifically, 22.3 of each 10,000 emergency division visits amongst kids aged 0 to 10 was for a suspected drug overdose as was 43.2 of each 10,000 visits for kids aged 11 to 14. Among these aged 15 to 24, there was a median 85.2 overdoses for each 10,000 emergency division visits, based on the report.


The research did provide a glimmer of hope. Nonfatal heroin overdoses decreased amongst youth aged 15 to 24 by 3.3% per quarter throughout the research interval. These findings mirror nationwide developments, which present a big drop in deaths from heroin overdose amongst 15- to 24-year-olds between 2016 and 2017, the researchers famous, however different specialists level out that stimulant overdoses are most definitely a results of prescription medicines being neglected and/or improperly saved.

“Kids frequently get these drugs from their own household, and parents just may not be aware of how to store or lock them away,” mentioned Dr. Dean Drosnes, medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, an dependancy rehab program with a number of facilities throughout the United States. “In young children, these are accidental overdoses almost exclusively,” he mentioned.

The huge image is plain, he added. “When you see these numbers, they are unassailable. These trends are real,” Drosnes mentioned.

“Pediatricians need to screen for drug abuse, recognize it and get kids to the right place so they can get the help they need and not end up in an emergency room,” Drosnes mentioned. As it stands, many youngsters do not get the assistance they want. Only about one-third of youth who go to the emergency division for a suspected overdose will obtain dependancy remedy, and the prevalence is even decrease amongst youngsters who overdose on heroin, based on info cited within the new research.

Still, this research does not imply that stimulant medicines are too dangerous to prescribe, cautioned Dr. Scott Krakower, a toddler and adolescent psychiatrist at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

“Stimulant medications have a fairly large beneficial effect and that should not be overlooked as they are extremely effective at improving symptoms of ADHD,” Krakower mentioned. When not handled, ADHD signs equivalent to issue concentrating, sitting nonetheless and/or controlling impulsive behaviors could cause issues at college, work and in relationships, he famous.

“Parents have to watch the pills and make sure there are appropriate safety measures in place, as stimulants are rarely bought on the street,” Krakower mentioned.


The new research does have its share of limitations. For starters, researchers solely had entry to the chief criticism on the charts, not the ultimate analysis. It additionally didn’t seize overdoses handled at pressing care services or at emergency departments that don’t report their information into the CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program.

The report was printed on-line Dec. 7 in Pediatrics.

More info

There’s assist for drug dependancy on the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCES: Douglas Roehler, PhD, epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Dean Drosnes, MD, medical director, Caron Treatment Centers; Scott Krakower, DO, youngster and adolescent psychiatrist, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Pediatrics, Dec. 7, 2020, on-line

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