ADHD Medication: A Safety Punch List

Key Facts:

  • 34 percent of students polled admitted to taking stimulant medications without a prescription; in juniors and seniors, the percentage can be as high as 80 percent.
  • Possessing stimulant medications without a prescription is essentially the same as possessing any other controlled substance
  • Students who face challenges based upon the symptoms of their ADHD do not take medications to gain an advantage, but do so in order to have the ability to function in a school setting

What do parents and students need to keep in mind about ADHD medication?

Students: Be smart with your medications

  • Remember that your ADHD medications are a controlled substance.  Possession of these medications without a prescription is illegal.
  • Safeguard your medication from theft on campus.  It is an important tool to management of your ADHD symptoms and it should be there when you need it.
  • A gift is a sale.  In the eyes of the law, giving a controlled substance to someone who does not have the legal or medical authority to possess it is the same as selling it.
  • Don’t share your medication with others.  Giving controlled substances to your friends is not only illegal, but can cause them harm if they are not being supervised by a doctor.
  • Follow your medication plan.  Changing your plan without consulting your doctor can have medical consequences and can create a surplus of pills that can lead to trouble. If you don’t feel that you need to take your meds on the schedule prescribed, tell your doctor and modify the plan with his or her guidance.
  • Have local resources.  If you are away at school, have your prescribingdoctor coordinate with a doctor located near your school to address any issues that may come up or emergencies.

Parents:  Protect your child—prevent diversion

  • Get the facts and avoid the myths associated with ADHD medication from your doctor.
  • Educate your child about his or her medication, the laws that govern its use, and how it can interact with other substances.
  • Speak with your child about respecting the purpose of the medication and using it only for its prescribed and intended purpose.
  • Stress the importance of reporting any side effects to you and your treating physician.
  • Consult with your child’s doctor and develop a solid medication plan that will work at home and school. Revisit that plan if and when your child goes away to college.
  • Make sure your child understands that he or she is taking what is considered a controlled substance that is illegal to all others.
  • Make sure that the school is aware of the medication that your child is taking, even if it is not dispensed by school medical personnel.  This is especially important if your child is away at college.
  • Make sure your child understands the need to keep medication safeguarded inside its prescription container at all times.
  • Provide your prescribing physician’s contact information to the school along with the prescription information itself in the event that any emergencies arise.

Other articles you might find of interest about ADHD medication:

Is ADHD Over Medicated?

Is Ritalin Good for You?

Do you protect you ADHD medications from theft?  Have you ever had any stolen?  Let us know your experience in the comments.

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