Why Not Adderall for Finals Week

 (first appeared on June 6th, 2013 on Huffington Post website)

Having prescribed drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to children for 35 years, I've participated with concerned fascination in the ADHD/ADD epidemic that has swept our country. Still, I was surprised that I felt so troubled when 16-year-old Joe's* mother, Susan*, called me the other day and asked if I'd be willing to prescribe him Adderall just for his finals coming up in two weeks.

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Rx for S.S.D. (Sick Society Disorder)

(This article first appeared in the Huffington Post on 4/16/13)

Shock and incredulity greeted a front-page New York Times article last week that nearly 1 in 5 American high school boys had attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Times analysis of the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey of 76,000 households had the overall rate of ADHD for children ages 5 to 17 at 11 percent. Approximately 6.4 million children have received the diagnosis. Two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis were receiving prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall, Ritalin or Concerta. Annual sales last year of these drugs reached $9 billion. 

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Is An ADHD/Adderall Ice Age Ending?

(first appeared in the Huffington Post 2/5/13)

"Crrraackkkkk!" was the sound I heard of the arctic ice breaking in my head as I finished reading the Sunday New York Times front-page article "Drowned in a Stream Of Prescriptions." I'm speaking metaphorically of course. But the 5,000-word Times piece on the life and death by suicide of a young man, Richard Fee, addicted to Adderall (a form of prescription amphetamine), could represent a true thawing of what some feel has been a 20-year ADHD/Adderall Ice Age.

I am behavioral/developmental pediatrician who's been prescribing prescription stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta to children, teens and adults for 35 years. I've never been against using medications in children. But I prescribe the meds only after giving effective non-drug interventions, like home/school behavioral modification and special education, a chance to work first. 

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