Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Teen ER Visits Caused by Stimulant Abuse Increase 300 Percent in 7 Years

A large increase in emergency room visits caused by stimulant prescription drug abuse has been noted, according to Newsroom. Top pills responsible for the rise in need for medical care include Adderall and Ritalin, but it’s not necessarily those who are using their prescription correctly who are ending up in the hospital. Rather, those who experience medical emergency as a result of abusing these drugs often:

  • Take the pills without a prescription
  • Combine the use of these medications with other drugs (including alcohol, which is involved in about 33 percent of these cases)
  • Take more than prescribed or take the drug more often than prescribed
  • Crush the extended-release pills before swallowing them—or even injecting them or snorting them

Over-the-Counter Stimulant Abuse: Is It an Issue?

Prescription stimulants are not the only stimulant drugs being abused. Caffeine pills and high-caffeine energy drinks were also noted in the report, which indicated a 300 percent jump in emergency room visits related to stimulant abuse among young adults. However, illegal stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamines, and crystal meth were not included in the report, and the abuse of caffeinated energy drinks was not significant in the rise of ER visits.

Who’s Abusing These Drugs?

As noted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the group with the highest increase in stimulant-related ER visits was young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. But they were far from the only ones. The SAMHSA chief medical officer, Elinor F. McCance-Katz, advocates for raising the awareness of the general public in regard to these health risks and preventative steps in order to help lower the incidence of this health hazard.

Health Risks

Adderall and Ritalin are prescription medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD). These stimulant medications help the brain focus more selectively on all outside stimuli and allow the patient to focus. Abuse of these drugs is commonly seen among college students. Students abuse these medications in an attempt to cope with academic expectations. However, use of these drugs can breed a crop of problems of its own, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Stroke
  • Severe depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight loss
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting

These drugs allow for prolonged alcohol use as well, which can result in drinking dangerous amounts and lead to alcohol poisoning. Additionally, stimulants can also block the depressant effects of alcohol by turning off the warning signs to a person’s body that they might be drinking too much.

Get Help Now

If your son is struggling with an addiction to any drug, we at Muir Wood can help. Through family involvement, outdoor and adventure therapy, traditional therapy methods, and academic assistance, our program offers a wide range of therapeutic options in recovery. Call now for more information. Recovery is always an option.