The following New York Times article describes very accurately current trends in high school drug use nationally though especially in our neighborhood in Philadelphia and the Main Line. With excellent advances in the treatment and identification of ADHD and Learning Disorders has also come the over prescription of drugs to treat these disorders and the malingering and manipulation of students who want to use such drugs. While access to prescription drugs is the biggest part of the problem, pressures to succeed and compete and be at the top of one’s class from high school and college administrators and parents add fuel to the fire.
The worst part about stimulants is they seem to open the door to abuse of other drugs like anti anxiety drugs and pain medications that are also prescribed all too easily. The vicious cycle here is that stimulants cause symptoms and side effects that people then want to avoid or medicate with further drug use. So stimulants can open doors to more drugs: doors that once opened can be very hard to close.
Prescription drugs including stimulants are in no way inherently bad. However, the issues in prescribing these drugs can be so complicated, varried and diverse it is important to have a knowledgeable doctor and professional coordinating one’s care. Addiction psychologists are an excellent point of entry into treatment for this sort of drug abuse. In many cases an addiction psychologist can rule out addiction. In all cases though the mental health components of prescription drug abuse need to be ferreted out in order to determine the exact nature of the drug use.