Only 1 percent of parents believe their teens have used attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin to help them study, but 10 percent of high school students have done so, a new nationwide poll suggests.
The poll, conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, found half of parents say they are very concerned about teens using “study drugs” in their communities, and more than 75 percent support school policies aimed at stopping abuse of study drugs, including requiring children who are prescribed ADHD medications to keep them in a secure place such as the school nurse’s office.
“Taking these medications when they are not prescribed for you can lead to acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms and even confusion and psychosis if the teens get addicted and go into withdrawal,” Matthew M. Davis, MD, who directed the poll, said in a news release. Taking study drugs has not been proven to improve grades, he noted.
Only 27 percent of parents said they have talked with their teens about using study drugs, the poll found. “If we are going to make a dent in this problem, and truly reduce the abuse of these drugs, we need parents, educators, health care professionals and all who interact with teens to be more proactive about discussing the issue,” Dr. Davis said.
Parents may not know their children are using these drugs because their effects are more subtle than drugs such as cocaine and heroin, Fox News reports.