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How Adderall Shortages Could Lead To A Repeat Of The Opioid Epidemic

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If there is one thing we have learned from the opioid epidemic it's that denying people access to a drug does not eliminate drug abuse — in fact, it only makes things more dangerous.

Now that a recent shortage of Adderall has left over 26 million people in a predicament as they desperately struggle to obtain the drug, we risk repeating that mistake. 

It is feared that we could experience a repeat of national the opioid crisis if there is no action taken to make Adderall more available. 

Adderall is a drug commonly prescribed to those who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It contains amphetamine, which is described as a stimulant, which changes the amount of certain natural substances in the brain. 

It increases one’s ability to focus on certain tasks, and attention span and controls behavioral problems. 

RELATED: Why Smoking Pot May Treat ADHD Better Than Adderall

Adderall is especially helpful to ADHD patients who attend school and need to complete assignments. 

The stimulant is also commonly referred to as a “party drug” among college students. Many of them experiment with it, combing it with alcohol and other drugs to maintain stamina for a long period of time. 

According to The New York Times, the total prescriptions for Adderall in the U.S. rose to 41.2 million last year, an increase of 16%. 

The Adderall shortage can be blamed on a couple of different factors. 

For one, many pharmaceutical companies responsible for producing the drug are experiencing supply chain issues. 

Teva Pharmaceuticals is just one of the companies distributing Adderall that is having manufacturing delays. 

RELATED: Taking Adderall Is Basically The Same As Using Meth, Says Study

Another reason for the shortage is strict federal regulations imposed on the drug. 

Since the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in mental health crises in teens, which correlates to an increase in Adderall prescriptions. 

Experts fear that the drug is being overprescribed to young adults and is widely abused by college students. They believe that putting a halt to Adderall distribution will resolve this issue. 

However, it may just lead to a more serious problem. 

RELATED: What It's Like To Be A Stripper With A Serious Adderall Addiction

The Adderall shortage could lead to a repeat of the opioid epidemic. 

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. began in the 1990s under similar circumstances. Opioid prescriptions became limited after concerns were raised over misuse of the drug and a spike in overdoses. 

Therefore, many people depending on opioids who were denied prescriptions turned to “street drugs.” They obtained them elsewhere and some even turned to dangerous alternatives, such as meth and heroin. 

At the start of the opioid crisis, there were 16,000 deaths linked to prescription opioids. 

After the restriction of prescriptions for the drug,  the death rate from overdoses spiked to over 100,000 annually. 

43% of Americans know someone addicted to opioids while 1 in 4 reports knowing someone who overdosed. 

Restricting access to opioids did not stop people from finding dangerous and illegal methods to obtain them. 

If the same restrictions are applied to Adderall, we could see strikingly similar results. 

The Adderall shortage could result in more mental health crises rather than eliminate them. 

Many people depend on Adderall to help them get through rigorous courseloads in college classes. 

Without it, they could struggle to complete necessary tasks which could impact their mental health even further. 

One woman suffering from ADHD shared on TikTok shared how the shortage is negatively affecting her. 

Kendahl Landreth (@kendahllandreth) revealed that she has not been able to take her medication for over three and a half months, and it has become difficult for her to get work done. 



“I can’t get anything done unless my girlfriend holds my hand like a little baby and goes, ‘if you do one little bit of work Kendahl, I’ll give you a treat!” she says. 

“Any trick you can think of to get my medication I’ve tried.” 

She added that her psychiatrist prescribed her an alternative medication, which she is fearful of taking. 

Kendahl speaks for many people suffering from ADHD who could face more significant issues rather than benefits from restricting Adderall. 

While there are those who will abuse the drug, even those who are not prescribed it, there are those who are highly dependent on it that will suffer the consequences. 

Not to mention, we could experience an increase in dangerous substances that can have devastating effects as people scramble for alternatives to Adderall. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.