I-Team digs into Adderall abuse among students - WNEM TV 5

I-Team digs into Adderall abuse among students

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Source: WNEM TV5 Source: WNEM TV5
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

“I just told him the problems I was having and he pretty much wrote me a script then,” said a Mid-Michigan teen, who we will identify as Bryan, as he talked about being prescribed Adderall.

It’s a deeply addictive drug much like cocaine and PCP. When prescribed responsibly, it is used to control attention deficit disorder.

Bryan told his story to the I-Team with the condition that we keep him anonymous.

Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance, the category shared with drugs like cocaine and PCP.

At the age of 17, Bryan had trouble concentrating at school. He was passing, but his teacher said he could do better. At the urging of his teacher, he went to his doctor for a consultation.

After filling out a form he said he walked out with a prescription for Adderall in hand. He was never officially diagnosed with ADHD.

“I checked most of them off and he said, 'yeah, we definitely have a problem' and wrote me a script then," Bryan said.

While Bryan insists he has a legitimate issue and needs the medication, the I-Team discovered scores of Mid-Michigan youth who don’t need it are getting their hands on it.

According to AddictionCenter, 16 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall were written last year. A jaw-dropping 116,000 users of it were admitted to rehab for abuse of it. And full-time college students were two times more likely to abuse it.

Dr. Justin D’Arienzo is a renowned clinical psychologist.

“It’s dangerous for someone who isn’t prescribed to use Adderall because often times they will overuse the Adderall," D'Arienzo said.

D’Arienzo said the illegal use of Adderall has skyrocketed and can actually cause psychotic breaks in some people.

“If we look at the non-medical use of Adderall, as well as ER visits, non-medical use has risen 67 percent, and ER visits, because of complications, have risen 156 percent," D'Arienzo said.

Unlike other drugs teens use to get a cheap high, the allure of Adderall is different. By all accounts, the abusers are high performers looking to maintain their edge at school. They are highly competitive in many cases.

Bryan said it can help you stay awake when you’re tired and concentrate on cramming for an exam.

The side effects range from cardiovascular issues, such as irregular heartbeat, to loss of appetite and severe abdominal pain.

Bryan said despite it being considered as serious as a drug like cocaine, kids his age just don’t seem to get it.

“I think it’s something they’re aware of, but they’re not too concerned about it," Bryan said.

Shockingly, Bryan admits it would be easy to fabricate symptoms to obtain pills to sell on the black market.

“It’d be really easy. You just have to know what to check off to make sure you look like you have it," Bryan said.

Right now Bryan is back in school and back on track. But he knows addictions can be just a pill away.

“If you need it, it’s good. But if you don’t, that’s your choice," Bryan said.

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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