Question about ADHD medications

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child never was rx'd medications for adhd and never had the diagnosis. I know nothing about the typical medications used for adhd but I'm wondering about the effects they would have on a kid who takes them off the street - who knows what dosage they took- when they didn't have adhd. Really, what I'm wondering if difficult child's major issues might have been the result of taking these medications- maybe he's been getting them from other kids for several years. Remeber his pattern? Good in the summer when the only other kids he was around were kids at the YMCA or summer day camp and unl,ikely that other kids would be handing out or trading medications. But once school had been in session a while, he'd start acting different, then be full-blown difficult child in late winter and early spring- when school district's are gearing up for standardized testing. I thought it was the typical difficult child pattern, and maybe that's still just it. But every kid he was hanging around during those periods since he was in 5th grade was on adhd medications. And were boys that probably would sell some of the medications to difficult child- or trade them. Would they think of that in 5th grade (still in elementary school) and at 12 yo? Would they make difficult child act like a difficult child? It sure might explain the sleeplessness. What about moodiness and raging?
  2. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    It's possible. It blows my mind that parents don't keep medications under lock and key. Fifth graders selling stimulants ... geeze! Can you try and use a little reverse psychology on him and make it sound as if you got a tip of some sort ? Or just plain out drug test him. How old is he?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He's 16yo now and in Department of Juvenile Justice. He first started exhibting "difficult child issues" at age 11yo and we ran the gammet with therapy, evaluations/dxs, medications, legal problems, etc. I just recently found out that he's been taking adhd medications that other boys have cheeked in Department of Juvenile Justice and traded and he's been doing this a couple of years. Since I found this out from difficult child himself and I don't think I got the entire story, I'm wondering if this has really been what's been going on all along. We used to think he was bipolar and getting hypomanic and manic due to staying up 2 days without sleeping, raging, acting bizarre, etc, but it was very cyclic.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I can tell you this from experience, k - they are stimulants to the rest of the world.

    Many college kids take them to stay up and cram for a test, because it makes them more "alert" and "focused". Not to mention kids like my Onyxx, who stole about 40 capsules and says she took them all at once. (I'm not sure she would have survived that, but what do I know?)

    I think it's possible; but I don't think it's the whole pizza here. Probably just the pepperoni.

    ...My $0.02.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah, I doubt it ALL difficult child's problem, but it sure is food for thought. It sounds like it could explain what I thought was hypomania and mania. What about raging- would it contribute or cause that if they are on them or coming down from them if they aren't rx'd and taken appropriately? Are they addicitive- leading to typical addiction behavior?
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Anything that stimulates can lead to rages - I mean, if I drink too much coffee I'm bouncing off the walls then cranky. Coming down is even worse.

    They are *supposed* to be out of the system quickly, which is why many kids get weekends off them or holidays from them when school is out. But... They're stimulants. I really don't know, but I do know you can't take a kid off them cold turkey! So probably...
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    I'll write difficult child about it and ask him to tell me if this was going on during that period of time. Maybe he'll tell me since he really doesn't have to worry about charges like that from 4-5 years ago as a really dumb kid that age. It sure would explain why we couldn't get to the "real" issues troubling him or a diagnosis that led to medications that worked.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    ALL of that is possible. I know a LOT of people who are unhappy because they cannot just give their kids the days worth of medications to be kept in their pockets - each of these parents says that their kids know when they are supposed to take them and would take them at the right time and be responsible, but nothing else in the child's behavior says that it would happen that way. Twelve is a popular age with dealers because they are old enough to be defiant and interested in experimenting and young enough to do a lot of things for a low payment. Trading medications is actually pretty common. It is one reason that many medications have come out in longer lasting forms - ease of dosing is only a small part. Lowering the ability to trade them by lowering the number of opportunities to cheek them (or whatever) is a reason that the govt pushed for the long acting forms.

    LOTS of kids actually start with stims and not pot because so many kids in school take stims. They then go to pot to help mellow themselves out. Stims can be very addictive, and cocaine and crack and meth are just illegal forms of them.

    Your son's behaviors could be related to stimulant use/abuse. Unless he admits it there really is not a way you are going to know for 100% sure, but this sure is a possibility. I hope and pray he hits "bottom" at some point and gets help, because the way he is using them in Department of Juvenile Justice is going to lead to other addiction when he gets out, if it hasn't already. I am sorry that you even have to consider this.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Our psychiatrist drug tests all the kids age 11 and over -- no matter what. Mixing illegal or other people's rx's with a difficult child's issues and their own medications is a disaster waiting to happen.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    POs always give random drug tests too- but I'm not sure they test for adhd medications. They seriously need to be dealing with this somehow in Department of Juvenile Justice. difficult child is required to get substance abuse treatment while in there already but what good will it do if they are a warehouse for medications?
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Stims are water soluble, out of the system pretty quickly. If I remember correctly, any after effects can be gone 72 hours after the last dose, depending on the amount taken.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im gonna be a lone ranger here.

    I actually worked in a pharmacy and know that ritalin works on a different part of the brain and wont give the high or stimulant effect that adderal or dexamphetamine will. Adderal was actually conceived as an appetite control pill but they noticed it worked for ADHD. It can cause the speed effect in people who dont have any attention problems as can any of the ADHD medications. Ritalin actually makes you feel tired or yucky. Taking too much over the counter dexadrine like diet pills...those sold in the pharmacy section are awful because kids take a bunch of them and they have a ton of caffeine and other junk in them. I did that one time and thought I was gonna die! Much worse than regular speed.

    I would seriously doubt an 11 year old would be selling his pills. A 14 year old...maybe.

    I would place a call to the Department of Juvenile Justice and tell them that kids are cheeking medications and selling them. They will start monitoring medications more vigilantly even to the point of crushing them and making them swallow them that way.
  13. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    My difficult child was selling her Adderall in 7th grade. At least that is when she got busted for it and sent to alternative school. She was taking the pill I gave her and selling it on the bus. From then on, I watched her take it every day.
  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Bottom line k, it's speed. Adderall is an incredibly popular drug to sell, especially in high school. I can tell you that easy child told me that it was something kids sold for $5 a pill. Kids will snort Adderall (snorting produces a high almost instantly where as swallowing the pill takes about 30 minutes) - it's one of the reasons that "the new adderall" is vyvanse. It cannot give you the speed effect by snorting - it has a special formulation (which I think is a coating on the "beads") that cannot be dispensed throughout your body unless broken down by stomach acid.

    Speed has tons of side effects. At the minimum it can make a kid nervous, anxious, and irritable. It's a circle kinda thing - not enough sleep, not enough food, no fuel for the system......

    When I was in college, I admit to no doze on many a night - legal speed.

    I know you are looking for answers k, but I'm not sure you can attribute difficult child's behaviors during a particular time of the year or on an ongoing bases on illegally buying stims. Did he have the money to buy it long-term? My difficult child has seasonal mood issues, as do most difficult children. It have no relationship to his add medications. His therapist actually tells me that, in her opinion, everyone, including "nongfgs" have mood patterns. I think we notice it more with our difficult children because their issues are much more magnified.

    Methamphetamine (crystal meth, crank, ice) is a totally different animal and could definitely reek havoc on a young man's life. But I don't think that is something your difficult child was doing - while cheaper than cocaine (and maybe even pot), it's still something he would have to have a source of cash for.

    I think you are, unfortunately, correct in your "warehouse for drugs" comment. Seems if you are in Department of Juvenile Justice, jail, or prison, you can get access to drugs. My question would be, how is difficult child "paying" for the drugs that other boys are cheeking? The aren't just giving them away. What would he be using for currency? You mention trade, but what does he have that he could be using for trade?

    I would definitely let someone know about the cheeking issue - but you know, it's a sure bet they already know this is an issue. Since he's supposed to have drug rehab, do they have a drug testing policy of you are in the substance abuse program?

  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Janet - that's interesting to know. Is it possible that methyphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin, Concerta) might stimulate a person to the point where she feels high? The reason I'm asking is due to Onyxx's theft of Jett's Concerta, and the simple fact that if I have too much caffeine, I feel spacey - like I've been smoking pot. Do NOT like that feeling.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, I think they already know about it, too. difficult child said they had been doing a lot of searches and finding some hidden and from what I gathered from some other parents at the last visitation I went to, they heard the same thing. Unfortunately, staff (not a nurse) give medications part, if not most, of the time and you're lucky if they even get the right medication in the right dosage to the right kid. They won't/can't be counted on to crush up certain ones in water. And some staff simply don't care what these kids do. The way Department of Juvenile Justice handles it- whatever kid is caught hiding it or taking it when they shouldn't be gets a charge. I don't think they give drug tests in Department of Juvenile Justice. It would cost a fortune to test them all on a regular basis.

    When difficult child was out of Department of Juvenile Justice, he could have been trading cigs he was stealing from me or buying them for money from selling and trading other things of his that would "disappear". I don't think it would have been an issue like him going to an experienced, older dealer. I think it was probably guys he was going to school with and that lived near us. In Department of Juvenile Justice, they trade stamps, snacks, and toiletries. You know how it goes- when only certain people "earn" certain privileges, all of a sudden those things become valuable. The boys in Department of Juvenile Justice get horrible soap, shampoo, toothpaste as a standard. They earn the privilege to order better toiletires on a monthly basis. Also, they gamble with these things and the medications when playing cards. Or expect favors if they don't tell on someone for something.

    There were a whole lot of times the couple of years prior to difficult child's first commitment to Department of Juvenile Justice that people were saying all the signs point to drug usage, yet the only thing actually found were cigs and tobacco products (in the area of drugs) and medications that difficult child had cheeked. And he was passing the PO's drug tests- which only test for street drugs- not typically rx'd medications.
  17. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I was prescribed Adderall for ADD a long time ago and it gave me an insane "speed" feeling. That feeling of having electric pulses through your scalp - speed. I HATE that feeling as an adult! I think Adderall is stronger than speed and is most likely a gateway for a lot of these kids and teens. I believe it was for my child anyway. This is my fear of giving it to my son and now with having to go to a cardiologist today, I am really not a fan of stims. I am definitely going to try other options with my son.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This all puts a new perspective on the first Department of Juvenile Justice facility deciding that my son wasn't BiPolar (BP) and recommending a substance abuse program when he'd never even had a positive drug test or been caught with drugs but them saying it didn't matter, he was acting like a kid with early signs that would lead to a substance abuse problem later on.
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In Department of Juvenile Justice pills are dispensed by "the nurse" or "medication man" on a daily basis as needed. The kids are watched as they swallow the pill. Cheeking the pill is the method used by kids who want to get something from others who want the pill. Money doesn't change hands. Extra food or treats is the method of payment. You have to be pretty far out to accept a pill (which is a crime, of course) that is covered with a stranger's saliva. Yuk! Cheeking is also a violation so the dispenser is set up for more problems as well. It happens but not often. The reward is low. The risk is high. Plus the kid who needs the medication becomes suspect because of behavioral changes.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you are hooked on a drug you really are not going to care about someone else's saliva, DDD. those of us with-o drug problems would care, but we wouldn't take someone else's medications anyway. Drug addicts stick straws covered wtih snot from other users up their noses, share needles, even rub drugs into open wounds. They are also far more likely to indulge in swapping fluids by unprotected sex. So a little saliva isn't as big an issue to them as it is to those with-o the problem. those in jail of any kind do that and more to get drugs.

    Budget cuts for Department of Juvenile Justice facilities mean that a LOT of things are not done properly. As happens in every other facet of the world controlled by gov't spending, services for kids are cut early and often. This includes having someone unqualified hand out medications when they don't even know one medication from another or what medication a person is supposed to get. Staff to supervise medications has been reduced and the number of kids getting medications has gone up which means more and more chances to hide your drugs. Kids also often fake a need for adhd medications - other kids are more than happy to tell them how to do this.

    The lack of staffing means that often someone caught is able to withstand pressure because staff is so overworked that they don't have time to really pressure a kid for their supplier. So lots of times the supplier isn't known. Plus there are family and friends who are more than willing to smuggle drugs in, plus staff members who don't care or get some other benefit for bringing in drugs or allowing them to be brought in. Cheeking is not the only way to get medications if you are in Department of Juvenile Justice. It is usually easier than it is to get them in adult prisons. I have heard this from people who work or worked in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities here and in OH and also from kids who have been in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities. Most of us think that it is really tough to get medications but that is not the reality. I know some kids who say it is easier to get them in Department of Juvenile Justice than it is in a regular school because they don't have to come up with money - they can use other things that kids in reg schools don't value.