Experts Warn of an Emerging ‘Stimulant Epidemic’

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FromĀ Medscape: While policymakers and members of the general public are justifiably focused on addressing the opioid epidemic, there is another epidemic that may be getting overlooked: the stimulant epidemic.

“Data from government surveys on drug use show thatĀ stimulantĀ use is climbing and in some cases outpaces opioid use. In 2016, for example, an estimated 2.3 million people started using opioids to get high for the first time, while 2.6 million people started usingĀ stimulantĀ drugs for the same purpose. In 2016, an estimated 3.8 million people said they used opioids to get high within the last month, while 4.3 million said the same aboutĀ stimulants.

While opioids now account for most drug overdose deaths in the U.S., the number of people who are dying fromĀ stimulantsĀ is also rising. Early data from the CDC show that the number of overdose deaths due to psychostimulant abuse — a drug category that includes prescription and illegalĀ stimulantsĀ — jumped nearly 30% last year. In 2017, 7,663 people died from aĀ stimulantĀ overdose, up from 5,992 in 2016.

In addition to illegal drugs, legal supplies ofĀ stimulantsĀ have never been greater. Prescriptions forĀ stimulantĀ medications like Ritalin and Adderall are up for all age groups, according to data from prescription drug monitoring programs. Both are typically prescribed to treat attention deficit disorders.

In Oregon, for example, the rate of stimulantĀ prescriptions written for every 1,000 adults ages 30 to 44 increased from 159 in 2012 to 238 in 2016, about a 50% increase. The largest percent increase, puzzlingly, was in prescriptions written for people ages 65 to 74.”

ArticleĀ ā†’Ā (Behind paywall)

1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve got an idea, perhaps the doctors should stop force feeding stimulants to millions of children? Although the doctors do need to learn that the opioids are NOT “safe pain meds” too. When did our medical community lose all it’s common sense?

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