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How common is prescription stimulant abuse?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Stimulant prescriptions soared from around five million in 1991 to 45 million in 2010. In 2010, about 1.1 million people reported using prescription stimulants for nonmedical uses. A 2009 report in the journal Pediatrics documented a 76% increase in calls to poison control centers about teens abusing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs during an eight-year period. This sharp rise, which far outpaced other poison control center calls, paralleled the 86% increase in prescriptions for youth between the ages of 10 to 19 during the same time period.

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