The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
Taken correctly, prescription drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help teens and young adults navigate their condition, but a new study finds many are dying from overdosing on these medications.
In 2019, benzodiazepines like Xanax and stimulants like Adderall accounted for more than 700 and 900 overdose deaths, respectively, in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“In recent years, there has been considerable attention devoted to risks of addiction associated with diverted or illicitly obtained benzodiazepines and stimulants,” said senior researcher Dr. Mark Olfson. He is a professor of psychiatry, medicine, and law at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City.
“The new study serves as a reminder that prescription benzodiazepines and stimulants also pose overdose risks to the patients who are prescribed them,” Olfson said.
Sadly, many of the overdose deaths among teens and young adults who had prescriptions for these drugs are intentional suicides, he added.
The upshot of the finding? Doctors and parents need to be careful about prescribing and having their kids take these drugs.
The researchers found that 29% of the overdose deaths from benzodiazepines were among youths who had a doctor’s prescription for the drug in the month before overdosing, as did 25% of those who died from an overdose of a stimulant.
Among those who overdosed on benzodiazepines, 42% had been given a prescription in the last six months, as did 39% of those who died from an overdose of a stimulant, the findings showed.
The findings were published online in the journal Pediatrics.