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Health, Science & Tech

Coalition Assembled to Prevent Misuse of ADHD Meds

Classes are in session at college campuses across the country and that means late-night study sessions in the library, no sleep and in some cases, the abuse of ADHD medications.

But the misuse of such medications is not only dangerous, it is also illegal.

The newly-formed Pennsylvania-based Coalition to Prevent ADHD Medication Misuse (CPAMM) is trying to spread the word on campuses across the nation.

CPAMM, launched on Aug. 28, will conduct market research and educational programs to prevent the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription stimulant medications like Adderall.

“We believe that ADHD is a real disorder, so when you see the misuse, abuse and diversion, we believe you’re in many ways trivializing what is a real condition,” said Gwen Fisher, senior director of corporate communications at Shire.

Shire, a leader in making ADHD medication available, is part of CPAMM, which also includes the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Jed Foundation and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Studies show that ADHD medication abuse has risen steadily over the last decade. A 2013 study at one large public university found that 9.3 percent of students had used a prescription stimulant medication recreationally in the past year.

“[The misuse] does occur, and we also know that often the reason why is because the students are using it as a study aide,” Fisher said. “They believe, and this is not always true, that it would lead to better grades.”

Fisher said the coalition will survey medical professionals to develop a strategy to help stop the abuse of ADHD meds, as well as students to understand why they are doing it in the first place.

“Students falsely believe that everybody’s doing it, and based on what we know now in terms of self-reported data, we know that’s probably not the case,” Fisher said. “But it’s good to have the facts out there.”

After conducting research, CPAMM will use its findings to develop peer-to-peer interventions for use by college students.