The Adderall Shortage of 2012

Why There Is A Shortage

The Adderall shortage of late 2011 and 2012, may be the writing on the wall for those who are dependent on this prescription drug. It is a concrete reminder that when you become medically dependent on something, it is wise to make sure it will be available whenever necessary.

There are conflicting views on why the Adderall shortage has come about. The fact that Adderall is a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance with a growing demand has a lot to do with it. The fact that its production is tightly regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency -- to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands -- is definitely a factor.

Where things get contentious is the fact that the pharmaceutical companies that make this and similar drugs are always interested in increasing their market size -- and this comes in conflict with the DEA's estimate of how many people may be faking symptoms of the ADHD disorder for which it is commonly prescribed.

So, even those who have a legitimate prescription from a doctor have the DEA second-guessing whether there should be enough Adderall produced for them. This is leaving many long-time patients "out in the cold" without a drug they need to function more or less normally.

Then, too, there is also the question of whether the shortage is some kind of marketing ploy by the pharmaceutical companies that make the drug, intended to drive desperate users to new patented alternatives, as older patents expire. Whether this is true or not, we can only speculate.

In The Final Analysis, Who Really Knows...Or Cares?

What is truly important here is that this Adderall shortage should call into question the risks of giving a dangerous drug to children as young as 3 years old. As the public searches for replacement options, it will be interesting to see how the free market will respond to bring forth a variety of critically needed healthier alternatives.

There is obviously a great potential for misuse of this drug -- described in Wikipedia as "mixed amphetamine salts" -- even among long-term legitimate users. It is amazing that billions of dollars of DEA money is spent keeping amphetamines out of our country, while -- at the same time -- they may be legally given to children as young as 3.

There Is No Question That Adderall Is A Dangerous Drug

In 2005, Health Canada suspended authorization for use of the drug for a time after it was reported by the manufacturer that there had been 12 children who died suddenly while taking the drug. It was later put back on the market.

Are the Food & Drug Administration and the DEA protecting the public's health by restricting this dangerous prescription drug? And, if Adderall must be kept out of the hands of addicts who want to use it, why is the same drug being given to little children?

Are there no safer herbal-based natural remedies that can be used to produce a similar effect? Many doctors contend that there are.

Perhaps the fact that no natural substance can be patented has a bearing on why the pharmaceutical industry has no interest in promoting nutritional supplements that are more acceptable to our body. They have no desire to invest millions of dollars in developing, testing, and advertising safer nutritional formulas because there is no possibility of restraining competitors from undercutting their magnificent profits.

So, The Public -- Many of them Children -- Gets Offered Only One Stimulant Treatment Avenue by the Pharmaceutical Industry -- Amphetamines

One way or the other, this Adderall shortage brings up many intriguing questions why such a powerful stimulant is prescribed for use in children when it is viewed as unsafe for use by adults -- unless, of course, they can demonstrate sufficient medical need to get a doctor's prescription.

And then, thanks to further DEA involvement in the market, there is no guarantee that anyone can find a pharmacist capable of filling their prescription! So what good are prescriptions, if there is insufficient supply to fill them?

Where are legitimate users of this prescribed drug supposed to go -- to the black market where there is always plenty of methamphetamine that somehow gets into the country despite the best efforts of the DEA? There has got to be a better alternative!

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Comments 20 comments

roxanne459 profile image

roxanne459 4 years ago from Washington

This was very informative and thought provoking.. thank you!


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment, Roxanne459! I enjoy writing, but it is even better to hear that someone is benefiting from my efforts.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

Adderall is still not popular with many pediatricians in Canada for the great reasons you have mentioned in this article. Excellent work!


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Thank you, Mardi. I read that it was banned in Canada -- not so, anymore? It makes me suspicious that the manufacturer found 12 deaths of children connected with Adderall, but then the U.S. FDA found no problem.


AddieUP 4 years ago

Very informative and well written article Paul. You hit the nail on the head, the shortage may be a good thing.


LisaKoski profile image

LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

This is a very interesting topic. I don't take Adderall but my boyfriend does so I will definitely pass this along. You make a lot of fascinating points here.


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I am always concerned about the long-term mental and physical health effects that any food or drug is likely to have. Adderall may be effective relief for those with ADHD in the short-term, but what is the long-term cost of years of amphetamine use? I will look forward to receiving your boyfriend's opinion of the situation.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

Paul,

Yes you are correct Adderall XR is banned in Canada but there was a push to try to bring it back around 2003 if memory serves me right. I am now living down in Texas but believe it is unavailable through a doctor in Canada. However, online or out of country prescriptions still let it trickle in.


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Thanks for that input, Mardi. According to Wikipedia, Adderall XR was only banned by Health Canada from February 2005 until August, 2005. US authorities could find no evidence of increase risk of death in 37 million Adderall prescriptions, even though Shire Pharmaceutical reported 12 sudden deaths among young users. That sounds like political considerations entered into the FDA decision, IMHO. Certainly not the first time that has happened. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adderall


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

Paul,

Sorry for posting misinformation on your hub comments, I think you are correct and my last comment was wrong. My BAD!!!


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Not a problem, Mardi! It's impossible to keep up with every decision for or against things that federal agencies make. You were close. It may have changed again since that Wiki publication. We all do the best we can with the info we have at the moment. That's good enough.


Richard StJohn profile image

Richard StJohn 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Please document safer. Herbals? Get real. Ever heard of Fen Fen? (might be Phen Phen) People who took the prescription or herbal version would up with the same medical issues. Those who had prescriptions could sue. With adderall there's the damn DEA involved in something they don't approve of. Hmmmm I wonder why there's a shortage. For those of us who have ADD, don't ask me why, stimulants have a reverse effect on us. It allows us to focus on things where we'd otherwise be distracted. I don't expect anyone without it to understand. But most substances approved for human consumption are harmless if taken in moderation. It's abused when it's taken to excess. And there is nothing I'm aware of that is good when used, taken or done to excess.


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Richard: If you get good results with Adderall, by all means, use it. I can't compare herbal Fen Phen to AddieUp because I don't know anything about herbal Fen Phen. I don't know the ingredients for it, I don't know the quality of the herbs and the integrity of the manufacturer -- these things make a big difference.

My point in writing this Hub was to protest the automatic process of placing very young children diagnosed with ADHD onto Adderall or Ritalin by doctors, without checking to see if there is an herbal preparation that might do the job. I trust herbs, such as coffee, which has more than a thousand years of safe use, more than I trust amphetamine salts. I question the long-term safety of taking this pharmaceutical daily and many users of Adderall seem to agree.

If it works for you, I hope you can continue to get it.

Thanks for sharing your comment.


Meghan 4 years ago

I am A 26 year old college student and single mother from Ontario, I have been through the countless tests and such to be diagnosed with ADHD. I hold a legitimeng RX for adderall which I take as directed. My 4 year old daughter shows all the signs of ADHD but it would be over my dead body I'd ever allow my baby to take a narcotic daily. I'm sorry but most children are high strung as it is and I honestly believe there is NO reason these children should be prescribed narcotics!!! They are young enough to have cognitive behavioral therapy and it be effective. I think MOST (not all) parents are too lazy or uninvolved to be bothered with their normal high strung child and want an "easy fix" to tone them down. That is just my two cents on the matter, I just think if a child is displaying the signs of ADHD at a young enough age it is easier to intercept that and help change the thought matters and such through professional therapy rather than medicate our youth with outright narcotics.


Meghan 4 years ago

Also, on the note of it being banned in Canada, that is not so I have been on it since 2010 and it was initially prescribed by my psychiatrist and when he is away (he is from Africa and goes back for a few months out of the year) my family doctor calls in the prescription for me. HOWEVER, I have to show my ID when I pick it up and I am put into a "database" to track my use (this goes for ANYONE who is prescribed any narcotics due to the oxy abuse I do believe) and when I went away for a few weeks in the summer I had to go without my meds because they would not fill it "early" (my bottle ran out while I was away which had I been home would not have been an issue).


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Hi, Meghan, I appreciate your comment. I agree that parents being "too busy" to take the time to work through ADHD problems (or simple youthful rambunctiousness)with their children is a big part of the problem. It troubles me that parents and teachers are all too quick to reach for the pharmaceutical pills to make the child more manageable. Drugs like Adderall should be the last resort, not the first. Why start a child on what may be a lifetime dependence on a unhealthy drug, if there are other safer courses of treatment?


Olga 4 years ago

U people are right winged conservatives that possible think a chamomile tea and a paper bag to breath in will " calm down" an overactive ADHD person. If you haven't walked a mile in my moccasin's and experienced the relief that Adderall brings to myself,family,over all well-being.

You certainly have a right to your opinion of medications in your biased non-medical backgrounds. Thankfully non-medical based options as your selves are at the vitamin store and not in relevant, powerful positions were evidence base studies have overwhelmingly deemed stimulants as viable medications, condusive for treatment of ADD/ADHD.


Kim 4 years ago

Im on adderall for MS! I can't stay awake ! And there's none in the city I live in! So there substituting something like it but it doesn't work the same! It sucks for people like me that really need it and use it correctly! The only thing I hate about it, it makes me not hungry so i have lost weight!! And I don't need to !


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Hi, Kim. Thanks for your comment. I have never heard of someone on MS -- I'm assuming that is Multiple Sclerosis -- being prescribed Adderall. My sources have told me the shortages were still continuing. I'm sorry to hear it has affected your life so badly.

Have you ever tried AddieUP? It was formulated under the direction of a chiropractic doctor who needed something for his serious ADHD. He didn't like the side-effects of Adderall, such as the loss of appetite you mention, so he designed an herbal formula that is helping many people replace Adderall.

AddieUP is available without a prescription, so there is none of the run-around you are having because Adderall is a controlled substance. You can find a review of AddieUP on my Web site, linked to this Hubpage article. I hope this information helps you.


Paul Kemp profile image

Paul Kemp 4 years ago Author

Olga: Thanks for your comment. Actually I am a Libertarian and, in my view, if Adderall works for you, that's fine with me. There are many people who aren't happy with putting themselves and their children on powerful amphetamine drugs, when there are safer alternatives that work as well or better. These are the people I wrote this Hub for.

Deaths caused by legally-prescribed drugs, doctors' and hospitals' mistakes are the third leading causes of death in the United States. Knowing this fact makes me question the wisdom of many of the treatments offered by medical professionals.

Adderall, in particular, was found to be connected to the deaths of 20 children in Canada a few years ago. The drug company that makes Adderall reported that and the drug was banned in Canada for a while.

If you and your family want to take your chances with Adderall, then go right ahead. There are Adderall alternatives that are working for those who use them -- and they are strong enough to do the job (without side-effects), having nothing to do with chamomile tea and paper bags.

The purpose of this Hub was simply to point out the viable alternatives that are non-toxic and non-addictive for those who are not happy with Adderall.

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