BALTIMORE (WMAR) - When you think of drug rehab, you probably thing cocaine, heroin, o xycontin, but some different drugs are sending an exploding number of kids into treatment these days.
Many prescriptions for ADD and ADHD that are passed out, sold and abused. This can lead to a life threatening addition.
Annie Gendaszek was introduced to ADHD medications when she was just 13-years-old by a friend with a prescription. "I really liked the effect and how they made me feel, so I sought out my own prescription from doctors," said Annie.
By the time Annie was in college, she was abusing the drugs daily and knew she needed help.
"Significant weight loss, irritable moods. I started lying, being dishonest, stealing," she says. Dr. Timothy Wilens, Director for the Center of Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital says Annie isn't alone. An estimated 5 to 10% of young people are misusing or abusing ADHD medications.
"If you're just popping them willy nilly and you're using them in context with other substances, which is frequently occurring, that could be potentially dangerous," said Dr. Wilens.
Rehab centers say they're seeing an influx of patients addicted to the drugs.
Velvet Mangan with the Safe Harbor Treatment Centers says that the problem is "huge. I have probably 100 clients and over 80% of them have been addicted to Adderall since they were in grade school. It's an enormous rise from just 10 years ago."
Experts blame the fact that the drugs are east to obtain and socially acceptable with the increase.
According to the experts, the typical values that exist in families around the use of illicit drugs don't seem to come into play here. However, the DEA lists these prescription stimulants as schedule two controlled substances, the same as cocaine and o xycontin .
"It's similar to misusing any kind of amphetamine or speed or cocaine. And it's going to require abstinence from that. It's going to require recovery management skills, how to fight urges, how to fight cravings," said Dr. Wilens.
Rehab centers also focus on the emotional problems behind the substance abuse.
"It's not what you use, it's why you're using. So we focus on life skills, we focus on self esteem," said Mangan. Through rehab, Annie got the help she needed, and she's about to celebrate 4 years of sobriety.
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