Maybe you heard about The Great Adderall Shortage of 2011 that impacted “millions of children and adults” who rely on the pills to help stay focused and calm? Maybe you haven’t.
In terms of national crises, like joblessness and obesity, I wouldn’t rank it at the top of the list (although a country producing drug-addicted college graduates should be a concern), and yet it’s become very much a crisis for people dependent, or more accurately, addicted to the drug.
At the heart of the shortage is an ever-growing struggle between the F.D.A., who recently included several attention-deficit disorder drugs on its official shortages list, and the D.E.A. who is trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students who use the medication as a study aid.
It’s become so much of a problem in academia that colleges like Duke University have issued new policies to address misuse, qualifying it as cheating:
The unauthorized use of prescription medication to enhance academic performance has been added to the definition of Cheating.
The D.E.A., who authorizes a certain amount the core ingredient of Adderall — mixed amphetamine salts — to be released to drugmakers each year based on what the agency considers to be the country’s legitimate medical need, finds itself embroiled in a growing epidemic.
In 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, up 13.4 percent from 2009, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription data.
As someone who has been on, and gotten off Adderall, I’m steadfastly in the D.E.A.’s corner. It is a highly addictive drug with serious side effects, especially after continued use, and can create more problems than it solves. Go to any ADHD forum/message board and read the testimonials of folks dealing with its impacts.