In big pharma’s quest to help combat the pressing national issue of young people not taking enough amphetamines, they’ve come out with an awesome new delivery system for the drug – Chewy fruit flavored pills called Adzenys! Where would the pharmaceutical industry be without amazing innovations like these…
Seriously though, this stuff is not made up. Neos Therapeutics has recently released (and the FDA has recently approved) a new chewable formulation of the same drug that Adderall, Vyvanse and other stimulant based ADHD medications are composed of. The company claims that this drug will be helpful for stressed out parents that have trouble getting their kids to take their ADHD medication before school. But some doctors (and many other individuals familiar with the effects and abuse potential of amphetamines), are concerned that this is one more easy to take and easy to sell option for individuals to abuse.
Study Drug Problems
With the prescription drug epidemic in America no big secret, it is surprising to see how easy it was for a drug like this to be approved by the FDA. While the potential benefits can be debated all day long, the bottom line is that this is a quick win for drug dealers everywhere when it comes to the marketing being done for them. With America’s prescription drug epidemic already as bad as it is, the idea that there are more easily accessible formulations of highly addictive drugs being created is alarming to say the least.
Adzenys comes in 6 different strengths, all the way up to an 18.8 milligram dosage – which is said to be equivalent in strength to the 30 mg extended release formulation of Adderall.
One of the common themes found within the criticism is that over 75% of children diagnosed with ADHD are on prescription medication. Psychiatrists are alarmed by this figure and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has even released a statement recommending that Behavior Therapy be utilized before prescription medication is brought into the picture.
So with this much bad press surrounding over prescription, why are these drugs still making it to market?
Prescription Stimulants are Big Business
Prescription stimulant sales in 2015 hit 12.9 billion dollars. That number will only increase in 2016.
The New York Times published a powerful article about the way that these drugs are being marketed – not just to doctors, but to adults with ADHD, and to children. Shire, the creator of Adderall, even went as far as subsidizing comic books with superheroes that told children about the benefits of medicine to “control behavior”.
It could be argued that when there is this much money at stake, morals can be left on the table. But what is the cost of continuing to create drugs that are progressively easier to abuse and market to young people?
Addictive Party Drugs
Outside of their use as ADHD medications, prescription stimulants containing amphetamines have long been a party drug favorite among teens and young adults in America. They give users a massive euphoric rush and allow someone to function without sleep or food for long periods of time. They are chemically similar to methamphetamine and they can cause psychosis with repeated abuse.
They are becoming increasingly popular with young people for their ability to supplement an all night study session (Related article: why prescription drug abuse is so high in colleges), as well as for weight loss purposes. Many young adults with eating disorders will use the drugs to increase their metabolism and remove their appetite at the same time.
On top of all this, they are highly psychologically addictive. Once an individual gets used to the effects of the drugs, it can be easy to become dependent on the boost that they provide. Returning to studying without the assistance of stimulants can be very difficult. Getting motivated to complete even the most basic task can seem like a huge chore after some time is spent relying on amphetamines. It is important to remember their similarity to methamphetamine – while meth may be notorious as an illegal street drug, it is chemically almost identical to amphetamine.
Sacrificing Morality for Profit
Especially for parents, it is important to be educated on emerging drug abuse trends. While Adzenys is most recent on the market, the issue of pharmaceutical companies sacrificing public good in the pursuit of profit is not a new idea. The Oxycontin scandal with Purdue and their marketing tactics has died down in headlines, but the effects of the drug are still felt in communities today. With an opiate epidemic ravaging the nation and prescription drugs just as much of a problem as ever before, when will something change when it comes to marketing and producing drugs that are doing more harm than good?