Advocacy group makes its pitch

Pam Nicodemus said the prevalence of ADHD is so high that it is often called the “common cold” of mental health. Yet, she said, many adults are not receiving the treatment that is vital in keeping their lives on track.

Now a national education and advocacy group is calling for these stimulants to be granted an exception in any new laws and regulations that are being enacted to control opioid abuse.

In a recently released position paper, Children and Adults with Attention Defecit Disorder (CHADD) has asked “that any proposed state rule or bill intended to address opioid misuse create an explicit exception for the distribution, prescription and administration of medications used for the treatment of ADHD.”

CHADD said a 2016 survey it conducted among those with ADHD showed “69 percent of respondents described hardship in obtaining access to needed medications.”

CHADD said in the paper that laws or policies that are “intended to address the misuse of opioids but which would also cover the treatment of ADHD with stimulants would adversely impact the effective treatment of ADHD in the state and could result in significant societal and economic costs to the state.”

The organization noted “restrictive new policies on the use of all controlled substances threaten to further compromise patient access to medications that are uniformly recognized as the clinically appropriate and medically necessary standard of care.”

CHADD also said it is concerned “that some physicians may decline to treat patients with ADHD to avoid the administrative burden imposed” by laws and regulations.

Nicodemus said Ritalin and Adderall were listed as Schedule 2 drugs because of the over-prescription and abuse of them in the late ’40s and early ’50s, when they were used for weight loss.

Nicodemus said these drugs are currently diverted for misuse, including cases in which college students try to obtain them from a classmate in order to be able to study all night before an exam.

But Nicodemus said regular counseling, controlled-substance agreements, and measures such as pill counts and urine testing can be used to monitor for misuse.