Exposure to medications that are used to treat ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has jumped by over 60% in children as well as adolescents in the U.S., a new study indicates.
The new study, which was published May 21, looked at the calls to poison control centers in the U.S. for intentional and unintentional exposure to the ADHD medications from 2000 to 2014 amongst both children and adolescents.
Researchers were able to discover that the total number of calls had increased to 11,485 in 2014 from 7,017 in 2000 or a jump of 64%.
According to authors of the study exposure means unnecessary ingestion, absorption or inhalation of the medications.
What was found was overall during that period of 15 years, an increase of over 60% took place in the number of people exposed and the calls reported to the poison centers regarding the ADHD medications, said the lead author of the study.
This new research arrives just a day after the National Rifle Association’s incoming president Oliver North suggested that Ritalin, commonly used for treating ADHD, was partially responsible for a recent uptick in gun violence across the U.S.
Of the more than 156,000 calls that poison control centers received during the period of the study, approximately 82% were call unintentional exposures, while 18% were considered to be intentional.
Three deaths that were exposure related took place over that period.
Researchers said that the finding most surprising for them was the proportion and severity of amongst adolescents that was from intentional exposure, with the three deaths being teens.
Researchers also determined that the frequency of the exposures increase 71% from 2000 to 2011 prior to dropping 6.1% from 2011 to 2014. Researchers said they did not know way the exposure rates started to decline during 2011.
ADHD is a condition that is characterized by a continual pattern of inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity that interferes with development of functioning, said a national health institute.
ADHD is amongst the most common of the behavioral disorders amongst children as well as adolescents.
Diagnoses of ADHD amongst children living in the U.S. have more than doubled from 2005 to 2014 showed a study in 2017. Approximately 14% of all children living in the U.S. were diagnosed with ADHS in 2014, in comparison to only 6.8% in 2005.