Can we talk about substance abuse?
Specifically abusing ADHD medication.
I’ve never actually had anyone ask me to lend them some of my medication. (How do you lend someone medication? Don’t you mean give? Cause I can’t see a pill being a ‘loaner’ that I’d want back afterwards.) But when my son was at university, taking an incredibly challenging course called Physics-Engineering, fellow students, non-ADHD students, approached him about getting a leg up with one of his magic pills.
My son is a clever lad. He never refused point blank. He never showed any resentment at being approached to do something wrong.
Instead, he would shrug and explain to the drug-seeking friend that, “Oh, because you don’t have ADHD, it won’t help. The kind I take doesn’t work for most people. And they take months to kick in.”
It was a lie. But better a little white lie than doing something criminal.
And it worked. They always believed him and never asked again.
MAGIC PILLS TO MAKE YOUR SMARTER
Of course, I’m sure plenty of kids and adults do sell their medication. Sometimes, I’m told, at an incredible premium.
Why? Perhaps to help pay for their education, I don’t know. Maybe they are genuinely hoping to help their friends or maybe they are succumbing to peer pressure. Maybe it makes them feel better to have someone ‘normal’ taking ADHD medication as well.
More troubling to me are students who pretend to have ADHD so they can get a prescription for medication. They’re faking the diagnosis.
Oh, the irony! So many parents and kids are afraid to find out if they have ADHD; meanwhile thousands of others try to fool doctors and school administrators into believing they do have it!
Whether or not these fakers do see a benefit, I don’t know. Probably. After all, most people focus better after inhaling nicotine or drinking caffeine. I do know that it negatively impacts those of us who do benefit from the proper dose of the right medication.
What kind of impacts?
Well, to start, because of rampant ‘faking’, a college student who actually does have ADHD must now present overwhelming evidence that they in fact have this disorder. Which can mean thousands of dollars worth of tests to prove what they already know. Meaning doctors who are already overbooked are having to do even more assessments.
BUT WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM? ME!
There are many other impacts, but here is a simple one. (And what makes it especially tragic to me is that it impacts ME! And that, in my mind, is a tragedy of untold magnitude.)
You see, up until a few years ago my doctor could prescribe 6 months worth of medication. That’s a lot of pills. And selling them could make someone a lot of money.
And apparently lots of people did.
So the rules were tightened up to prevent this.
Now, I can only get a prescription for 3 months worth of pills at a time.
After three months I have to go see my doctor again. Which is 2 hours out of my day, because she’s a long drive and she’s always behind because she sees so many patients. And I’m adding to her caseload with my two extra visits a year.
That’s not all.
To prevent abuse the Pharmacy can only give one month’s worth of pills at a time. Despite my 3 month prescription.
Apparently I’m not to be trusted with more.
So instead of 2 pharmacy visits a year to get six months worth of medication, I have to make 12 trips.
There’s more. (Are you wailing and lamenting for me yet? I hope so.)
A few minutes ago when I called to have the prescription renewed and ready to pick up, I was told I can only renew it when I’m almost completely out. I still have 6 days left.
They dare not trust me with 30 more capsules of ‘concentrated concentration’ until I have 5 days worth left. I was going to be out and about today running errands, so grabbing my prescription was a minor inconvenience. But the pharmacist tells me I can’t pick them up till after midnight tonight. When it’s officially tomorrow. Apparently I’m one day early. One day too soon.
So now I’ll have to make a special trip. Costing more time, more mental energy, more gasoline… You get the idea. (I’ll pause here to let you finish your wailing and weeping for me.)
WHAT’S THE ANSWER? UMM….
Okay, I know, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a ‘First World Problem’. But it just feels unnecessary.
What’s the answer? I don’t know. But I’m open to suggestions.
I understand that there are people abusing ADHD medications.
There are people abusing every kind of medication.
Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are Preparation H Addicts. And they ‘share tubes’ in illegal ‘roid houses’.
What is the price of Hemorrhoid medication on the street?
“Today, agents of the DEA seized over three million dollars worth of illegal suppositories…”
There must be a way to save me, and the pharmacist, the need for 12 trips a year
Perhaps there could be a special category of people who are trusted. Like my daughter, who, as a flight attendant, gets to go through a faster security lane.
A doctor could certify a patient they’ve known for a long time as being ‘trustworthy’.
But then, come to think of it, there are doctors who are not trustworthy, and who will certify distant relatives so they abuse this system too…
I don’t have the answer. Does anyone else? What do you think?
Is there anything to be done?
Not only about this issue, but what about the issue of and using and abusing ADHD medication?
Has anyone ever asked you or one of your kids to ‘lend’ them some pills?
And if so, what happened? Because I really know that peer pressure can be huge, and we can be impulsive.