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Why Adderall Shortages Should Worry Parents in Idaho

Idaho and the rest of the country are experiencing an Adderall shortage. Adderall is the most commonly used drug to treat ADHD in both children and adults. The shortage is largely due to increased demand for the drug, particularly among adults. During the pandemic, adult prescriptions increased by 15%. Manufacturing delays have also created a larger demand problem.

A record 44.1 million Adderall prescriptions were issued in 2021. An estimated 251,370 of these prescriptions were issued in Idaho. The pandemic saw a massive surge in these recipes as ads flooded Tik Tok and other social media promoting Adderall for anyone feeling distracted. The deregulation of telemedicine made it easier to diagnose ADHD.

This is worrying for several reasons. The first is that getting a Schedule II controlled substance shouldn’t be that easy. It is just as addictive as other Schedule II narcotics such as OxyContin, Percocet, fentanyl, heroin, morphine, codeine and other opioids.

Second, about 1 million children were misdiagnosed with ADHD, according to a 2010 Michigan State University study. In Idaho, 8% of all children between the ages of 3 and 17 are currently diagnosed with ADHD and nearly 60% are on medication. That’s a higher percentage than in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and some others.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is an amphetamine that combines the salts amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

What does Adderall do?

It depends on the patient. For someone who truly has ADHD, it will improve their focus and concentration. For someone who doesn’t have ADHD, Adderall will also improve focus and concentration along with producing more dopamine. This leads to a feeling of euphoria and increased energy.

Why is deficiency dangerous?

The inability to get Adderall legally could lead some to find other ways to get it or substitute illegal drugs like meth for it. Methamphetamine can have similar effects on people who don’t have ADHD.

Adderall sold on the street is often laced with other, more dangerous substances, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl-related deaths more than tripled in Idaho between 2020 and 2021. This could potentially lead to overdoses of other medications. Even non-ADHD users of Adderall are safer getting their medication from a pharmacy where they know the medication is not laced with anything else.

The use of Adderall by non-ADHD sufferers makes it even harder to get for those who really need it for ADHD or narcolepsy.

When will the Adderall shortage be over?

The FDA is refusing to change restrictions on how the drug is made, meaning this issue will likely continue through March.

If you have an Adderall prescription, be sure to call. Some pharmacies in the Boise area stock enough to fill your script. Others don’t. They ingest it, but they get it in different amounts than they used to. In some cases, you may need to switch pharmacies, which is not easy with a controlled substance. Another option would be to discuss with your doctor whether you would like to upgrade to the extended release version that is still available.

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