DEA warns increased Adderall use could represent the next opioid crisis as 1 in 4 American teens abuse the drug

Officials have warned that the increase in Adderall prescriptions could signal an opioid-like epidemic in the future, according to the Daily Mail. The Drug Enforcement Administration chief said that the sudden rise in new prescriptions could bring about high risk of abuse, similar to the opioid crisis.

The drugs have a long list of serious side effects, including anxiety, seizures, insomnia, hallucinations, and psychosis. There have also been reports that the drugs could contribute to an increased risk of heart disease.

“I’m not trying to be a doomsday here… It makes me feel like we’re at the precipice of our next drug crisis in the United States,” Matthew Strait said, who is the deputy assistant administrator in the diversion control division at the DEA.

The Daily Mail reported that Adderall prescriptions went up during the pandemic, which could be caused by telehealth firms. Prescriptions for the drug jumped from 35.5 million in 2019 to 45 million in 2024.

The DEA is reportedly working to stem how much of the drug is manufactured and how many people can access it. But this still does not address those who already have a valid prescription for the drug and still cannot obtain the medication.

“DEA determined that the proposed APQs for amphetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate are sufficient to supply legitimate medical needs, reserve stocks, and export requirements for 2024,” the agency wrote in a March filing.

However, CBS News reported that drugmakers have blamed the DEA’s quotas for inhibiting their ability to manufacture the drugs to meet demand.

“The production limit on the drug’s active ingredient is one of the main drivers for our inability to fully supply the market,” a spokesperson for Apotex said, a drugmaker for a Vyvanse generic.

The report mentioned that while generic versions of Vyvanse received FDA approval for the first time year, almost all of the recently approved manufacturers said they are now facing shortages of lisdexamfetamine as they have tried to increase production.

“We have not been able to obtain enough raw material to commercialize the product at full commercial scale, and we have used our full quota for calendar year 2023,” the Apotex spokesperson said.

It’s been estimated that one in four American teens are abusing some form of prescription stimulants such as Adderall. The CDC has also reported that the percentage of children who have parent-reported ADHD has steadily increase over time.

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