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Aderall Or Nothing: Anatomy of the Great Amphetamine Drought 611

pigrabbitbear writes "To prevent hoarding of materials and their potential for theft and illicit use, the Drug Enforcement Agency sets quotas for the chemical precursors to drugs like Adderall. The DEA projects the need for amphetamine salts, then produces and distributes the materials to pharmaceutical companies so that they can produce their drugs. But with the number of prescriptions for Adderall jumping 13 percent in the past year, pharmaceutical companies claim that the quotas are no longer sufficient for supplying Americans with their Adderall. The DEA contends that their quotas do, in fact, meet demands, and that any shortages arise from pharmaceutical companies selectively producing only certain, typically name-brand and more expensive versions of ADHD medications."
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Aderall Or Nothing: Anatomy of the Great Amphetamine Drought

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  • by cs668 ( 89484 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:27PM (#39063237)

    so that we can track their killing sprees, but not let enough medication be produced for law abiding citizens. Smart move.

  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:28PM (#39063253) Homepage Journal
    I doubt the DEA has a lab somewhere that's creating this material... or maybe they do...

    When did the DEA get into the chemical production business?
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:57PM (#39063801) Journal

    Considering how those that are actually being prescribed Aderall and need it to function are the most likely to be affected by this, I do.

    I read somewhere that only about two in an hundred need ADHD drugs to function (which is still arguably a significant number in a 300m population) but that it's way overprescribed, to upwards of one in five in US schools. (The report did not say how this statistic translates to the general population, so it could be misleading.)

    So, just spitballing here, but maybe the shortage could be at least partially alleviated by prescribing the drugs less casually. For instance, I give you personal permission to take the drugs the school prescribed for my kid, which I declined. (The school looked at her and said she's ADHD and recommended drugs. The doctor agreed to prescribe with no testing, which made me suspicious. I had her formally tested, and she's not ADHD. She's severely dyslexic. I'd like to personally thank the school system and medical community for screwing that up.)

    Note, I am not one of those loonies who believe the drugs are unnecessary. You say you need them to function, and I believe you. But clearly at least some are taking them who don't need to, and that has to negatively affect demand to some degree.

  • ADHD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#39064073)
    The only reason this is a so-called disease is because Big Pharma makes tons of money on trying to medicate the children of America. What if this was not a "disability" but actually just the next step in evolution of human beings? What if there is actually nothing wrong at all? I believe ADHD isn't a malady.
  • by cmarkn ( 31706 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:19PM (#39064129)

    The DEA needs to butt out of medical practice

    I agree. And since that's all the DEA does, it should be put down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:26PM (#39064235)

    Well, one thing we should mention here is that the government is interfering with the market for amphetamines, a highly addictive substance. Because of DEA regulations, there are only a few companies that are even licensed to produce these drugs. The free market corrects this by having bikers whip up large batches of crystal meth.

  • by MuChild ( 656741 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:27PM (#39064245)
    Yeah, well, it's not that they need it to function DISCLAIMER (I am presently on a similar medication), it's that they need it to function in the highly structured, monotonous "farmer" style society that we find ourselves. If there was a way for many of these people (and many people with ADD do fine without meds) to make a living that didn't rely on organization, attention to detail, etc., then we wouldn't need the meds. I myself am trying to transition myself away from my concerta-requiring job and into a non-concerta-requiring job as we speak.

    As far as addiction goes, what of it? People are addicted, physically addicted, to coffee, and other substances all the time. It's not the addiction but the psycho-physico-emotional harm that it might do that is the problem. No one worries that people with bipolar disorder are "addicted" to their meds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:28PM (#39064263)

    I think Adderall is just straight amphetamine, not methamphetamine. No extra methyl group there.

  • Re:You know... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:53PM (#39064655)

    That's a common misconception. It's not so much an attention deficit, as an attention disregulation. Someone with ADD can sometimes "hyperfocus" on a highly stimulating and engaging activity (like, say, video games), because they're craving that stimulation. That doesn't mean they don't have ADD, just that they like video games.

    The medication helps with being able to focus on things that aren't quite so stimulating.

  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:30PM (#39065139) Homepage []

    If you have the time, watch. That's some scary shit right there. I'm an apartment dweller myself. I've had an adjacent neighbor move in beside me once. He was extremely paranoid and my entire apartment complex smelled like paint thinner as though someone was spray painting a car inside a unit. Most likely doing the whole shake and bake thing I bet. It could have killed many people. Several neighbors and myself complained over the course of a week. He was soon gone and so was the problem. One of my friends at another complex had his neighbor's door kicked in during broad daylight. They usually team up with a handheld make shift welded battering ram and bust the door down. Otherwise they go for the window on 1st floor units. Smash and grab for only 20 seconds and they were gone. One of the neighbors asked was the hell was going on as they were leaving (now that's a pair of balls for you) and they told her to fuck off. The police came to file yet another report. Too late. I'm sure it ended up in a bottomless pit someplace only to be reviewed by the new cold-case rookie some 20 years later.

    Of all things, you criticize the one person staunchly in favor of the drug war who himself lost the will to stay clean. If that man can fall to addiction, it's a safe bet to assume anyone can. You don't have the freewill that you *think* you do. Chemicals do modify our behavior and a false perspective of what's truly important in life.

  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:32PM (#39066155) Homepage
    And a brilliant smear campaign by Randolph Hearst to get marijuana and hemp made illegal. He was a newspaper baron who also owned his own paper mills. Hemp was a threat to his wood pulp paper productions, so he used his newspapers to run "reefer madness" style propaganda to demonize it. No more threat of competition now.
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @06:02PM (#39066579) Journal
    A +5 for THAT? Really? Might want to look up the shortages of just about EVERY drug across the board that is no longer in patent protection. The drug companies have been quietly dropping more and more generics because thanks to Wall Street becoming Vegas with nicer clothes if you don't make iMoney your stock price will be crap. With such a high barrier to entry the invisible hand BS just won't fly in big pharma so if they don't do something you won't have to worry about generics soon as there simply won't be any. the biggest companies buy out the smaller generic companies and then either quit making the generics or slightly change the formula and get another patent. This is why we should have a "national pharma" that creates nothing but no longer patented drugs at 15% above costs. This would give us the generics we need and within a few years would be one of the few branches of government that actually MADE money instead of merely spending it.
  • by clong83 ( 1468431 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:48PM (#39069315)
    Not every person on Aderall is a 2nd grader. I am an adult with ADHD, and I wasn't diagnosed until my second year toward getting a Ph.D. Aderall is a powerful drug, and I hope someday there will be a treatment that doesn't require me to take amphetamines. I always think about 100 years ago when cough syrup had opium in it. I'm sure it's a hell of a cough suppresant, but damn if it isn't overkill. Maybe with more research there will someday be something better for us ADDers.

    I don't disagree that ADHD is probably over-diagnosed. The symptoms can easily mistaken for laziness or general immaturity, and with kids it can be particularly difficult to get it right. There is a stunning lack of counseling ADHD children on how to deal with their symptoms. I wish someone had talked to me candidly about why I didn't fit in, why I literally couldn't sit still, always got in trouble, etc. Might not have helped my behavior much but it may have saved me some years of anguish wondering why I couldn't get it together. I got bad grades in Middle School, but I was smart, and grasped the material just fine. I just didn't do any homework. I know. All kids hate homework and blow it off now and then. Not me. I just didn't do it. Period. Couldn't, and I didn't understand how anybody else did. It was not normal. The only reason I passed most classes was that I would cheat in middle school. We'd often "exchange papers" to grade each other in 6-7th grade or so. I would keep my own, had a red pen filled with black ink, and just filedl in the answers when they were called out. I did this in one class or another almost every day. That's right. I cheated my way through 6th grade. Like I said, not normal.

    I do sympathize with your perspective. In most cases, I think medication should wait until kids are a little older and their grades actually matter. Make sure kids who have strong symptoms early on know what is happenning and why, and let the teachers know too. Then, maybe in high school start medication if it is necessary. The logistics alone are awful for dosing a kid properly with a highly psychoactive chemical. A kid's metabolism changes monthly, and their mass may double in three years. And I think it's important to let a kid explore their own native psyche, regardless of whether it is a "normal" psyche.

    To work as a professional, I rely on Aderall. Some might call me a junkie, based on my steep performance drop-off when I go unmedicated. I assure you, this isn't withdrawal and addiction. I don't even want to take the pills. I won't take them on weekends, vacations, or holidays, and I don't suffer any physical ill-effects for it. What happens when I don't is a return of my normal everyday symptoms. The shortages in supply, whatever the cause, are very real, and it is REALLY frustrating to call about 5-6 pharmacies to see if they can fill my prescription every month. Sometimes I just have to wait, and I quite frankly have better htings to do than call pharmacies all afternoon and drive halfway across the county to get my prescription only mostly filled, because they were down to their last 40 pills at the pharmacy

    Hope I don't come off as obtuse or anything. I encounter a lot of people that think ADHD is a made-up disorder and there's no legitimate reason to take medication. I don't think you fall into this category, but I am sure there are some reading who do. Just trying to spread the word.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.