ADHD Drug Abuse Among Teens Rising

A new medical study released Monday found that next to marijuana, prescription medications are the most common drugs teenagers use to get high.

The study in "Pediatrics" found that calls to the National Poison Center related to teenage abuse of ADHD medications increased 76 percent between 1998 and 2005.

Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy Of Pediatrics, stopped by The Early Show to discuss this alarming trend.

Asked why there is such a spike in the use and abuse of this drugs, Dr. Levine said, "I think we're seeing more and more use of ADHD drugs in general because there's more awareness."

"But the more we prescribe the medication, the more it is out there in the community, and the more there is a risk for abuse," she explained.

Teens experience a performance enhancing high - they want to study longer and stay up later for example. Dr. Levine also said some kids are using the drugs for their appetite suppressant qualities to lose weight.

Asked if these drugs are safe or unsafe, Levine said that when the medications are properly used, they're safe. "But we need to educate our teens on proper use."

Levine explained that many kids get the medication from their friends, and urged parents to be on the lookout.

And the drugs can be dangerous if you don't need them: according to Levine. Kids are typically screened for heart disease and get an EKG before getting the prescription.

  • CBSNews

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