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Adderall Use On the Rise Among Adults

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Adderall use isn’t just skyrocketing among kids, a growing number of adults are using the ADHD drug for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. While children still make up the biggest group taking Adderall, the number of kids on Adderall rose 18 percent between 2008 and 2012, compared to a 53 percent jump among adults, according to Express Scripts’ pharmacy claims data. The study looked at privately insured children and adults.

The Numbers

  • Between 2008 and 2011 Children using Adderall rose 18%
  • Between 2008 and 2011 Adults using Adderall rose 53%
  • ADHD medicine use has increased 85% among women aged 26-34


There are also some changes along gender lines. The study found that the number of boys on ADHD medications was twice that of girls taking these drugs, but the opposite is true for adults who rely on the prescription drug. Women’s use of ADHD medications is actually starting to surpass men’s, with the biggest increase in use found in women ages 26 to 34. ADHD medicine use among women in this age group rose by a whopping 85 percent over the study period.

The rise in use is cause for concern because of a recent trend of misusing ADHD medications. Since they are stimulants, there have been widespread reports of abuse on college campuses where the drug is relied on for all-night study sessions or parties. The drug is also used by some to help with weight loss or to combat depression.

Researchers estimated that spending on ADHD medication rose 14 percent in 2012 — the greatest increase seen among any drug category.

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