Across the United States, a rising number of high school students are abusing prescription stimulants, such as Adderal and Focalin, according to a report by the Boston Globe. Feeling the pressure to get good grades, students are using the stimulants to stay up studying all night, and then to stay alert for exams the next day. It is common for kids with a prescription to share the drug with friends that don’t, and some are ingesting the drug in unintended ways, such as snorting. It is highly dangerous for children to take a drug that is not prescribed for them and/or in a way that has not been proven safe. Specifically, prescription stimulant abuse can result in depression, mood swings, heart irregularities, paranoia, sleep disturbances, and, during withdrawal, severe exhaustion or psychosis. Particularly for younger kids whose bodies are still developing, brain and heart damage can occur. The stimulant can also act as a gateway drug, leading to the use of painkillers, sleep aids or illicit substances such as heroin and cocaine. Prescription stimulants are classified as Class 2 controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the same level as cocaine and morphine. This means in addition to being highly addictive, the drugs carry a considerable legal risk. Giving a friend a prescription stimulant is as illegal as if you have sold it. You risk prosecution of a felony if you do so. Talk to your kids about correctly using their prescriptions. Here are some tips:
- Make sure your kids understand how to properly handle their prescriptions and explain the dangers in not following directions, including the risks posed by sharing the drug with their friends.
- Set a good example by being vigilant in your own medication habits.
- Whenever possible, choose a natural treatment over chemical enhancements. Avoid depending on medications when you don’t have to.