The face of Adderall addiction: Who uses Adderall? (INFOGRAPHIC)

The use of “study drugs” such as Adderall has been on the rise since 2009. This infographic shows the demographics and national trends of Adderall use in the population. Check it out to learn more.

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Why is Adderall abused?

People abuse Adderall to get high. This drug is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant.  It can make you feel energetic, euphoric, and full of confidence. People abuse Adderall because it produces feelings of confidence, euphoria, increased concentration and a suppressed appetite. These effects make Adderall a go-to choice for students looking to boost their mental performance.

This drug is also the most commonly prescribed amphetamine and a Schedule II controlled substance. As a Schedule II substance, it it illegal to use Adderall without a prescription or OTHER THAN prescribed. However, many people still take Adderall which has not been prescribed to them, withouth knowing that Adderall has a strong addictive potential.

The face of Adderall addiction: Who uses Adderall? (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Adderall use in the U.S.: What do the statistics say?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), at least 5% of college students – or 1 in 20 people – between the ages of 18 and 22 have reported recreational Adderall use. About 89% of students who reported abusing Adderall and binge drinking.

A survey called “Monitoring the Future”  of adolescent drug abuse has also reported the use of “study drugs” that include Adderall and Ritalin, first declined among 12th graders, but is on rise again since 2009. In 2013 it reached nearly 9% for amphetamine and 2% for MPH.

If you are wondering just how prescription Adderall is abused or how many people have used such medications in a non-medical way, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that nearly 6.5 million Americans over the age of 12 have used methylphenidate or amphetamine salts recreationally in their lifetime.

Abuse of “Study drugs” has its consequences

A study by the NSDUH in 2009 found that full-time college students (18-22 years old), were twice as likely to abuse Adderall (6.4%) than those of the same age not in college (3%). Students who were using Adderall non-medically in college were also:

  • 3 times as more likely to have used marijuana in the past year (80% vs. 27%)
  • 8 times more likely to have used cocaine (29% vs. 4%)
  • 8 times more likely to have used tranquilizers non-medically (24% vs. 3%)
  • 5 times more likely to have used painkillers non-medically (45% vs. 9%)
  • 90% were binge drinkers
  • 50% and more were reported to be heavy drinkers

Moreover, 37.9% of visits to the Emergency Department involved CNS stimulants, a.k.a. ADHD drugs.

Adderall use and addiction questions

Do you have anything you’d like to ask or add? Please feel free to use the comments section at the end of the page to send us your questions and concerns. We value your feedback and try to provide personal and prompt responses to all legitimate inquiries.

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Reference Sources: NIH: High School and Youth Trends
CDC: ADHD medication and behavioral therapy among children with ADHD (ages 4-17) with special health care needs
CDC: Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
NIH: DrugFacts—Nationwide Trends
Turning Attention To ADHD: U.S. Medication Trends for ADHD
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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