The use and abuse of psychiatric medication has been a hot topic in the news recently with discussion about whether we are too keen to medicate ourselves, and too keen to medicate our children, all in the hope of improving performance and behaviour.
Times Post recently published a widely circulated article, on the extent of ‘smart pill’ abuse on US college campuses. These ‘smart pills’ are largely pharmaceutical drugs designed to treat conditions where attention or alertness is impaired, such as ADHD and narcolepsy.
They include amphetamine-related drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin; and non-amphetamine drugs such as Provigil and Strattera. These are often acquired from people who have genuine prescriptions.
The other side of the coin is that these drugs are available illicitly, partly because of the massive increase in prescriptions of these sorts of drugs to children and young people.
NPR’s Talk of the Nation show discussed the extent and effects of prescribing psychiatric drugs for young people in a recent show with guests David Cohen, professor of social work from Florida International University and Jeffrey Lieberman, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.