Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.

The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students, who use the medications to get high or to stay up all night.

Caught in between are millions of children and adults who rely on the pills to help them stay focused and calm. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability.

So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!

  1. tcc3 says:

    I think this speaks more to the problems with “The War on Drugs” than whether people do or don’t need a medication.

  2. sargasso_c says:

    They stun fresh water trout with electricity.

  3. orchidcup says:

    “Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability.”

    Drug Addiction Help Line — 1 (877) 451 1256

  4. KD says:

    “So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!”

    The only people these drugs help are parents that prefer their children to be lifeless zombies.

    • Tom says:

      ADHD (and ADD) are both real problems.

      My son suffers from ADD.

      I denied it for years. He borders on genius but couldn’t remember to do two things in a row. Getting him to remember to do his homework was impossible (we would have to keep up with his assignments and constantly remind him to do it). He couldn’t keep focused in school at all. His mind was constantly “thinking up new ideas for things” and he would get “in the zone” and couldn’t force his mind back on the task at hand. I was pretty hard on him for “daydreaming.” How else do you describe it? I couldn’t think of any other way.

      Finally, when it looked like he was going to fail out of school (his grades were 100’s when he remembered to do his assignments and when he took the tests but 0’s because he would forget to turn his homework in when I know he did it because I watched him do it.), I decided to talk to a doctor about it. I refused to think it wasn’t daydreaming but I needed an answer and I didn’t have one. The doctor said he had ADD. I still refused to believe it but got him on the medication anyway. Anything to help him get through the day.

      We saw a change in one week. His grades when from D’s and F’s to A’s. In one week! He scored high enough on his ACT/PSAT/SAT to get accepted to an Ivy League school when he was in 9th grade. Before the medication, he wouldn’t have made it through the test.

      I would like to blame it on him being just a kid and kids do what kids do, but my wife and I worked for years just to get him to do the basic stuff and he couldn’t.

      There is definitely a chemical imbalance in kids today. I don’t know what causes it but I wonder if isn’t all the chemicals and crap in food these days.

      Until you’ve experienced a kid with the problem first hand, it is very easy to blame it on immaturity.

      Is my son medicated? Yes. Is he a zombie through the day? No, he was a zombie before the medication. He is sociable and now has a large group of friends. I can carry on a conversation with him and not keep repeating a question because he forgot what I asked him two seconds earlier. I have a son now; something I didn’t have four years ago.

      • msbpodcast says:

        Sadly, that’s how it is.

        I used to relax watching (and listening, lets be honest here,) Lena Horne’s recording of “C’est si bon” spinning around on the old Gerrard turntable. (I was still a Francophone at the time. That changed.)

        In my first year of high-school I got 30% on my algebra exam and it kept going down from there…

        Then I found an different teacher and went from class idiot to an honors student in mathematics.*

        The teacher’s method may be more to blame than your kid, and drugs, or the absence of them, may have nothing to do with it.

        *) Benoit Mandelbrot and fractal mathematics held no terrors fot me.

        • LibertyLover says:

          8 years of bad teachers? That would be some kind of record. One or two I could see. Not 32 in a row.

          • So what says:

            Dude, its always the teachers fault. Just ask the kid, or nowadays their parents.

      • Craig says:

        What medication is he on?

    • EK says:

      I’m sorry to disturb your prejudices and your sanctimonious, self-righteous arrogance, but actually, there are millions of us who rely on these drugs to function — including many many adults.

      Yes, many kids are overmedicated. But the ignorances of so many of these comments — “millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids” — is appalling.

      • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

        I think comments like that come from people who haven’t worked with groups of kids. As a long-time Scout leader, you can ID the boys on the normal activity curve…then there are those who are off the charts, or whose attention span is simply non-existent. A 12-year old should be able to handle two consecutive instructions, or a simple if-then. The ADD/ADHD kids can’t. The medications put these boys square into the normal range.

        Sad thing is that there are lots of these boys, and they’re not normal. I hope some day the cause of this is identified so we can treat that, instead.

  5. Dr Spearmint Fur says:

    I tried reading the article three different times and got side tracked.

  6. Eric says:

    The problem isn’t just with drugs for ADHD, but with drugs in general. Hospitals are suffering with major supply shortages for all sorts of drugs. The problem lies with the drug patents. Companies are just not manufacturing enough generic drugs because they are not as profitable as their name brand counterparts. NPR did a story about this last year.

    • Cap'nKangaroo says:


      You mentioned the 3 letter nonprofit news organization. If this story gets over 25 comments the trolls will descend on it just to rail against the 3 letter nonprofit news organization and its unholy jihad to promote the leftist, progressive views of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. By comment 50, alFIe will be quoting scripture trying to steer the thread to the “birth certificate” or “thuggish union bosses”.

  7. deowll says:

    I have no doubt that many people use drugs for people with ADHD wrongly.

    I also have worked with kids that do have the condition and their lives are bleep and so are the lives of those around them until they get the help they need. They can not stay focused. They constantly get off task. They have accidents sometimes very serious accidents because their minds wondered. They may take completely insane risks because they acted before they thought.

    The mother of one such child stated that if her first child had been afflicted with this condition rather than the third she would have stopped with one child. They need their meds even though most of them really don’t like taking their meds.

    Do some parents and others use ADHD meds for diet pills etc? Yes.

    I’m a bit to aware of the issues involved to come out with some fatuous remarks so I shall leave that to others less well informed about the topic.

    • msbpodcast says:

      They may take completely insane risks because they acted before they thought.

      Maybe its natural selection at work…

  8. orchidcup says:

    5 Surprising causes of ADHD:

    1. Food Dyes: The FDA is reviewing evidence that suggests artificial food dyes may exacerbate attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids that have the condition. The only role of these food dyes is to make foods look more appealing, so it should be pretty easy to remove them if the FDA finds adequate evidence that they are indeed harmful to children.

    2. Western Diet: A recent study suggests that diet may play a role, as it indicated that teenagers with ADHD were more likely to consume a so-called “Western-style” diet. The Western pattern was characterized by a high intake of total fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and folate. Common parts of their diets included take-out, sweets, red and processed meats, refined grains, full-fat dairy and soda The researchers found that the adolescents who consumed the Western diet were 2.2 times more likely to have ADHD than their counterparts who consumed a healthy diet.

    3. Smoking and Lead Exposure: A first-of-its-kind national study has found that pre-birth exposure to cigarette smoke and high levels of lead in children can be linked to higher rates of ADHD in youth. Children who were exposed to both prenatal smoke and registered high lead levels had a greater than eightfold increase in the likelihood of having ADHD.

    4. Pesticides: New research suggests there may be a link between children with measurable breakdown products of organophosphates (the most commonly used type of pesticide) in their system and ADHD.

    5. Genetics: New research coming out of Cardiff University in Wales is suggesting that chromosomal defects are responsible for ADHD. The study also suggests that those subjects presenting with a mental disability like autism or schizophrenia were twice as likely to also have ADHD.

    Most of the 4.4 percent of the adults in the United States who suffer from ADHD use medication to help them get by, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adding cognitive behavior therapy may reap more benefits.

  9. Badda bing says:

    Number one way to get people to take a drug. Tell them it will fix their problem-whatever it may be-with no effort on their part other then taking the pill. Don’t believe me? How many posters are taking medication for high blood pressure or diabetes? Remember when the doctor said you can treat it by losing weight and watching your diet? I do, yet even knowing, that if I lost a bit more weight and exercised a bit more. I could stop taking the HBP medications, I am still taking the pill, why? because its just more convenient.

    Then again I am old enough to remember when the treatment for hyperactivity was a swat and the ass and being told to sit down. Funny, it worked too.

  10. Animby says:

    Badda bing said: “the treatment for hyperactivity was a swat and the ass and being told to sit down. Funny, it worked too.”

    I meant to mention, I’ve had the privilege of treating patients in many different parts of the world. I almost never see a child with a parent’s complaint of ADHD or ADD symptoms. I have practiced in Texas and New York. Saw at least one a week, then.

    Makes me wonder if a lot of these symptoms could be managed by cutting sugar from the diets of the kids. Parents will feed their kids a couple of bottles of fruit juice a day thinking they are doing good. So much fruit juice is sweetened these days and even “pure” juices are naturally filled with sugar. Baby food is often sweetened. I’ve seen people give their babies sugar water to drink or dip pacifiers in sugar just to get the kid to shut up.

    I’m not anti-sugar but I worry about it’s prevalence in our society.

    • orchidcup says:

      I watch parents give their small children a couple of candy bars for a snack. Then the kid wants a Red Bull energy drink on top of that.

      I cannot imagine any responsible parent giving their children a Red Bull energy drink, but I see it frequently.

      Then the parents wonder why their children are bouncing off the walls.


  11. #30--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    AD..what? My Dad took me to see a doc because I slept too much. doc told him it was normal for some kids to sleep more than others. I don’t think I ever out grew it–still very lethargic. I think its more a daylight disorder thing where want to be up all night and sleep all day. Never had any problems adjusting my sleep pattern when crossing time zones or in pulling night shifts. What I always found hard was regular hours starting anytime in the morning. That continues to right now. I like 3 hour naps with 15 hours inbetween. I’m all f’ed up all the time.

    To that end, my next door neighbor had two kids who were “always active.” Climbing here and there, always falling, getting hurt, broken bones. Local ER called the kiddie patrol down on her for being unfit. She had lots of problems with the Man for a few months until it got resolved that her kids were just high risk junkies. She refused to give them drugs. I have always wondered what became of them all. Free Rock climbers I assume.

    Would a high density society Darwinianly select for lethargic low energy types? I’d think so except breeding goes to the more active leaving us to raise them? Hey!!! I’ve been cuckholded before the race even started!


  12. Go Fish says:

    If that is not enough I know any numbers of adults who had ADD before anyone knew what it was

    • Jeanne says:

      and so many of them only get ‘diagnosed’ now when one of their kids is diagnosed, and they realize they have the same symptoms etc…..

  13. Animby says:

    #30–bobbo : “…still very lethargic. I think its more a daylight disorder thing…”

    Too bad the Feebees didn’t want you. We cold use more lethargy there.

    I’m with you. When left to my own devices, I tend to go to bed around dawn. Is there anything more disgusting than seeing another sunrise? Served me well in my residency, though. Work all night? Sure. No problem.

  14. Jeanne says:

    Have had trouble getting meds for my daughter and I the last few months. We use a public clinic as that is all we can afford, and they order the meds, but it doesn’t always come in, so my doctor has had to change forms from 10 mil tablets 2x a day to getting 20 mill, breaking them and doing 1/2 a day to switching me from IR to XR depending on what is available.

    One of the biggest problems isn’t necessarily the ADD/ADHD symptoms coming back, the BIGGEST immediate issue is going off adderall cold turkey is dangerous to your mental health because it does affect brain chemicals and thus, works much like an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin (works on the same neurotransmitters). Cutting it off without tapering it off can actually lead to sudden, debilitating depression and lethargy because of sudden drops in norepinephren and dopamine. With sudden, strong depression, also comes an increased risk of suicide and other behaviors. This is true for any medication that affects brain chemicals…so if the opponents of meds such as adderall want to cut it because of that, they’d also have to pull every antidepressant off the market as well.

    • orchidcup says:

      ” This is true for any medication that affects brain chemicals…so if the opponents of meds such as adderall want to cut it because of that, they’d also have to pull every antidepressant off the market as well.”

      Not a bad idea. Let’s stop experimenting with brain chemicals and allow nature to take its course.

      • Jeannius says:

        I guess you would propose that we let schizophrenics or psychotic people go around without medication as well? Let them do like the guy in Norway? be so paranoid with a God complex that they bomb buildings or shoot a bunch of kids?

        • Badda bing says:

          We call them politicians and preachers, its more politically correct.

  15. Lynn says:

    Well, I opened the conversation and here I come in late to the party. As a social worker, I am in the building with my clients for 8 hours at a time. We get kids who are diagnosed AT SCHOOL as conduct disorder, attention deficit. I see them ALL DAY here and without exception, I have not seen any behavior out of the ordinary. Most of our parents only give the kids the meds for school. I’m not denying that ADHD and ADD exist or that many benefit from medication. I’m saying that a lot of diagnosis and insistence on meds is coming from the schools in order to cram 30 kids in a room without the teacher going homicidal. In my day, of course, the teacher used corporal punishment and humiliation to keep control of SIXTY kids, but times have changed so they use meds instead. This is just my personal observation, not backed up by any research. I’ve worked with about 230 residential families with kids over the last 9 years.

    • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

      Corporal punishment does not work with ADD/ADHD kids. Their brain works different. Typically their brain goes goes:


      No amount of whipping or threatening a kid will change the way their brain works. Here’s a key: Adderal is a stimulant. What do you think that drug would do to you, and why does it do the opposite in certain kids and adults?

      I think you need to do some homework on ADD/ADHD, especially as a person in your position.

      • Lynn says:

        I wasn’t advocating corporal punishment just because I mentioned it used to exist. RTF post, friend.

        • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

          In my day, of course, the teacher used corporal punishment and humiliation to keep control of SIXTY kids, but times have changed so they use meds instead.

          What does that mean, exactly?

          And Pedro the Ass…what’s your reason for being here? You’ve added nothing to the discussion, again.

  16. EstCstCrkPt says:

    All I can say is that Mephedrone now a felony to possess kept me on task and I had my house clean.

    Kept some weight off too. STuff was like Cocaine and Ecstacy.

    Damn Drug laws.

  17. bob says:

    “So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!”

    ADHD is a real condition resulting from abnormalities in the executive function sections of the brain. This can be confirmed via an MRI in people who actually have it. The fact that it is often over diagnosed in kids who are just bored, eating too much sugar, or just very excitable is irrelevant, as is substance abuse by college idiots.

    For some people with severe ADHD, they are simply unable to function normally without appropriate medication, no more than someone who is clinically depressed, schitzophrenic or bipolar can. Should we tell the severely depressed to just stop whining and get their shit together without all this ‘overmedication’?

  18. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Pedro, look at the collection of your posts here and ask yourself what you have contributed to the blog and the discussion. You, sir(?) have a problem. You know nothing about this subject, and you’ve spent at least five responses saying exactly nothing other than insulting a contributor.

    I suggest the Moderator have a look at your recent posting history and your need to attack a large percentage of my posts.

  19. #77--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Olo==calling for the moderator? How droll, but I’m kinda missing the humor. And since I have a HSR (High Stimulus Requirement) I rarely read more than half the first sentence of any post I may have missed Pedro going off the rails but he is maintaining his recent high water mark of on point posting. Maybe he’s wrong, or right, or just unique==but he’s on point and certainly contributing.

    FREEEEEEEEEDOM===someone else posting what you don’t like. I’d hate to see “the moderator” clamp down on Pedro for being not to your liking. I imagine in quick step I would be moderated for making fun of Pedro’s Donkey and in such events, the pleasure measure for this blog would take another tumble.

    Why not take pleasure where you may and ignore the rest?


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