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Adderall Addiction & Abuse Statistics

Many prescription drugs carry risks of becoming addicting if used improperly by the patient. One of the most addictive prescription drugs on the market is known as Adderall – an ADHD treatment drug. Keep reading to find out more information about Adderall addiction and abuse statistics. Find out if you or someone you know is at risk for becoming addicted to Adderall and what you can do to prevent addiction.

What is Adderall?

Before getting into what causes Adderall addiction, it is important to understand what Adderall is, how it is prescribed and what kind of treatment benefits it can provide to a patient. Adderall is a combination medication that is primarily prescribed to help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The drug is known to help the patient focus better, concentrate for longer periods and stop fidgeting.

Adderall is composed of two stimulants, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The science behind Adderall works to help restore some brain balance of certain natural substances and hormones produced in the brain.

Adderall is also known to be prescribed in some cases of those dealing with narcolepsy.

Adderall Addiction

Adderall addiction is unfortunately on the rise, particularly among adolescents and college-age young adults, and is often referred to as the “study drug.” Adderall addiction begins when the drug is abused by the patient (or by those who obtain the drug through illegal means – buying it from a dealer, or faking ADHD symptoms in order to get a prescription.)

When Adderall is used by those who don’t actually need it to help control ADHD symptoms, it immediately has a higher risk of leading to addiction. Even those who have been legally prescribed the drug for medical purposes can take too high of doses to achieve a “high” or “speed” like effect, which can lead to higher risks for addiction.

Adderall Abuse Statistics

adderall stats

  • A 2010 survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health discovered that 11.4 percent of individuals ages 12-25 abused prescription drugs over the course of the past year.
  • According to that same study, full-time college students between ages 18-22 were twice as likely to abuse Adderall as their peers who weren’t in college.
  • An estimated 30-40 percent of those who have a prescription for the drug misuse or divert the medication at some point during their taking Adderall.
  • In 2010 and 2011, Adderall abuse increased to 6.5 percent among 12th-graders, continued increasing to 7.6 percent in 2012 and reached 7.4 percent by 2013. Recent studies indicate that number continues to climb.
  • Adderall is considered a schedule II controlled substance, which means that those caught possessing Adderall illegally (without a valid medical prescription for themselves) are subject to the same criminal prosecution as those possessing opiates and other amphetamines. Those who have a certain amount of Adderall illegally in their possession, might fall under charges that include “distribution,” which means higher charges and bigger jail time and fines. Exact charges vary state to state.
  • There are more issues that can arise from Adderall abuse than just an Adderall addiction. Adderall abusers have been found to be more likely to be binge drinkers. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 90 percent of college students who were found to have ingested Adderall without a prescription were also likely to binge drink or were qualified as “heavy drinkers” over those individuals who did not abuse Adderall. Unfortunately this statistic did not change based on age. Even underage (to drink) individuals were just as likely to be addicted to Adderall as well as have issues binge drinking.

How is Adderall Abused?

Even though most cases of reported Adderall Abuse happen when students without prescriptions use it to help them focus for upcoming exams and assignments, there are those who use the drug for recreational purposes. It’s fairly easy for students to do this because of the high rate of the drug legally prescribed to those who need it to treat ADHD, ADD and other common learning disabilities. Like with other commonly-abused prescription drugs, recreational abuse of a pill also may not carry the same stigma as abusing other types of illegal drugs.

Adderall abuse can occur when the abuser intentionally crushes up the pills and snorts it or shoots it up intravenously – just as they can by ingesting the pill by mouth. Adderall statistics indicate that 40 percent of teens reported feeling “okay” with abusing prescription drugs because they are “much safer” than the equivalent.

Adderall Addiction Prevention

While treatment is available for those struggling with Adderall addiction, it is important to take preventative measures first. Many schools and colleges are working on public health campaigns for its students to help them recognize the dangers associated with Adderall addiction. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with Adderall addiction, it is important to get professional medical help immediately.



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