Increase in Stimulant Abuse Leads to More Emergency Room Visits Among Young Adults

Posted by Pharmacist on September 20, 2013

Federal health officials from a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services released a report in August reporting that the number of emergency room visits among young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 as a result of taking Ritalin, Adderall or other stimulants quadrupled between 2005 and 2011.

The numbers are startling; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that in 2005 there were a reported 5,600 visits, compared to 23,000 visits in 2011. The agency notes the largest rise is among 18-to 25-year olds and is similar to patterns of detrimental health issues caused by prescription drug abuse across the country.

The agency also notes that during 2011 more than half of the patients said that they were given the drugs from a relative or friend and 17 percent purchased the drugs from a relative or friend.

The chief medical officer of the substance abuse administration, Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz noted that easy access is a “huge issue” among both stimulants and opioids.

Health issues such as blood vessel and heart problems are linked to stimulant misuse, as is chemical dependence. Because the stimulants can mask the effects of being intoxicated users who combine them with alcohol have a larger risk of alcohol poisoning and other related issues. It’s reported that approximately one third of the emergency visits among young adults ages 18 to 34 involve alcohol.

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