Generation Rx

Suicide Highlights Dangers of Adderall

Richard Fee was in college when, like many other undergrads, he had his first taste of Adderall. It wasn't long before he was dangerously addicted to the legal stimulant, with irresponsible doctors dashing off scripts without properly evaluating his side effects—mood swings, sleeplessness, and violent physical outbursts. At 24, two years after he had his first taste—and two weeks after his doctor finally refused to prescribe him the medication—Richard hanged himself. While Fee's case is unusual, his patterns of abusing the medication are not. A 2006 study found that 10 percent of adolescents and young adults who misused A.D.H.D. stimulants became addicted to them, and even careful, doctor-supervised use of the medication can trigger psychotic behavior in 1 in 400 patients.