The Detrimental Effect of the Adderall Shortage

The Detrimental Effect of the Adderall Shortage

     Panic, fear and anger have struck across the world in a large wave. In the fall of October 2022, a shortage began to hit the U.S. of a pharmaceutical commonly known as Adderall. With the amount of product that is still circulating the smaller manufacturers are getting drowned in demands for this pharmaceutical. 

      According to Dr. Max Wiznitzer from NBC News, “This shortage is the worst I’ve ever seen in my entire career.” The spread of panic has yet to slow down amongst those who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADHD. 

       ADHD is a disorder that can consist of a low attention span and an overactivity in movement. ADHD can also present itself with a lack of self-control when it comes to impulsive behaviors. Adderall is a medication that helps control this disorder and makes said symptoms less apparent in everyday life. 

     With the school year starting, the demand for this medication has been soaring. A male freshman described his experience with ADHD and as a result of the shortage, refilling his prescription was a problem as he had to go to another pharmacy because “they didn’t know when they’d be restocked.”

    Unmedicated ADHD can present itself in a multitude of ways. Some of these are forgetfulness, fidgeting, trouble concentrating, hyper fixation and heavy daydreaming. 

    The principle of supply and demand has been in full effect. Not only has Adderall hit a snag in its production, but so have all other forms of ADHD medications. 

      Without the usually readily available medicine, the time this freshman is given to learn is infringed on by the inability to pay attention to anything. According to Time, the amount of Amphetamine, a major active ingredient in these medicines, is being capped by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to avoid having more of the drug in circulation than necessary. 

    The cause of this shortage has been a topic of debate since the beginning. Blame has been bounced back and forth from the DEA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and even doctors such as psychiatrists, psychologists and pediatricians. 

     The percentage of ADHD diagnoses has gone up by 0.34% during the Covid pandemic, according to the National Institute of Health. Some think this fact is what started this shortage. While they may be correct in one aspect, the DEA could also claim blame for the situation. 

   Manufacturers have been awaiting permission from the DEA to acquire new ingredients for said medications. However, with the lack of their permission came the release of a substitute drug as an attempt to get out of this shortage. Generic versions of Vyvanse have been approved and have started to be shipped as of Aug. 31. 

    According to Statista in 2022, when the shortage started 2.9% of students used Adderall in the U.S. With this massive amount of students needing Adderall the shortage has fallen deeper into the ground with demands. Adderall is also used for diagnosis such as Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a chronic disease that affects the sleep-wake system in the brain. The production of these pharmaceuticals and their needs are much more diverse than the public thinks. 

    Vyvanse, like Adderall, is used as an ADHD medication. These generic versions are being sold as gummies and capsules much like the name-brand drug. Both Adderall and Vyvanse, once consumed, increase levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine which calm the symptoms of ADHD. The freshman concluded that Adderall specifically has made it easier to “pay attention to the point of retaining information.”

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that 3.3 million teenagers are diagnosed with ADHD and 60% of them use Adderall. There are four big manufacturers of Adderall such as Teva Pharmaceutical and with the limitations on production, they are not meeting demands on time. According to Bloomberg News, the FDA estimated about 38,000 kilograms of amphetamine would sufficiently meet the demand for Adderall. The DEA however, set the ration at 42,400 kilograms. 

   Mathematically this seems to fix the problem but the higher the concentration on these doses of medicine the more the ratio the DEA set begins to be insufficient for its cause. 

   This shortage is a crisis affecting a lot of young people. It will remain an issue for schools this school year.

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    Cam BOct 20, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    Very talented writer, great job!

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    TiaOct 11, 2023 at 6:53 pm