State health officials have been issuing warnings for a few years now about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. Recently, seven people were admitted to hospitals in eastern Iowa for abusing drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A-D-H-D.
Iowa Poison Control Center nurse Tammy Noble says the individuals, who are between the ages of 13 and 24, were all treated within a four day period. She says people that abuse the A-D-H-D medications are using the drugs to get high or to stay awake.
A recent Iowa Youth Survey found nearly 4% of teenagers reported using prescription drugs without a doctor’s permission. Noble says do so can be dangerous and evenly deadly. "In the patients that we’ve seen, the symptoms have included high blood pressure, fast heart rates, they can become agitated and have tremors – not seizures, but just shaky…and vomiting," Noble said.
There are reports that the A-D-H-D drugs are being sold on college campuses during finals week as students look for ways to stay awake and study. Noble says the medications can work well for people who are prescribed the drugs.
"There are legitimate reasons for taking these medicines and those people that have been prescribed the medications are being monitored by a physician," Noble said. "They have doses that are appropriate for their age and weight and for the medical conditions that they have going on."
The medications involved in the recent cases in eastern Iowa were Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse.