Study finds Adderall use is increasing in young adults

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A sharp increase in the abuse of a drug commonly used to treat ADHD has law enforcement and health officials concerned.

This week, a new study by John Hopkins University reports the misuse of Adderall is rising among young adults.

According to researchers the number of prescriptions for Adderall have not increased but the number of adults from 18 to 25 abusing the drug is on the rise.

It's a trend the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office is concerned about.

“We’re getting a trending thing that’s happened in the past couple years that we’re starting to be concerned with and that is young people sharing prescriptions,” said Sheriff Ron Cramer.

Between 2006 and 2011 researches claim Adderall prescription didn’t increase but say the non-medical use of it rose 67 percent.

Mayo Clinic Health System says Eau Claire County is no expectation.

“Eau Claire is a college town like any other and it has its substance abuse issues,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Paul Horvath.

Horvath says many abusing the drug are getting it from family and friends without a doctor’s recommendation or prescription.

“Physicians are prescribing these drugs with great intentions, honorable intentions, and unfortunately those drugs are getting diverted for other uses,” said Horvath.

The study reported a significant percentage of Adderall abuse cases are among college students who take it stay awake and focused when studying which Horvath says can cause health problems.

Horvath explained, “It can cause heart attacks. It can cause seizures. It can cause heat stroke as well. I typically see people having heart problems; that's probably the most common problem.”

Cramer says another major area Adderall is abused is during party situations.

“They're crushing up Adderall and then they're using Adderall with their friends,” said Cramer.

Cramer says prescription sharing can lead to severe consequences including felony arrests.

“If someone has an adverse effect to the Adderall and we find out that person has allowed their prescription, which is a controlled substance, to be utilized they can be arrested for the delivery of a narcotic,” explained Cramer.

It’s a troubling trend medical professionals will continue to monitor.

Horvath said, “I have really significant concerns for those drugs being used for bad things and I think that's just another example of a more systemic problem.”

The study did find Adderall related ER visits among adolescents have dropped.

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