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Carlos Ruiz and College Kids Back with Adderall

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Philadelphia, PACatcher Carlos Ruiz is back for the 2014 season with the Phillies after being suspended for taking Adderall; but this time he is allowed to take the amphetamine - possibly because his performance suffered without it.

Ruiz hasn’t commented on the Philadelphia Inquirer (February 20) report. It said an official from another team told Fox Sports that Ruiz had received an exemption for Adderall after a 25-game suspension. But it isn’t surprising, given that the Major League Baseball Players Association last November announced that 122 therapeutic exemptions were granted last season, including 119 for ADHD. That number would indicate that about 10 percent of major league players suffer with ADHD.

Almost five percent of children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. But some surveys report that Adderall usage has increased dramatically in the past decade or so - almost five percent per year from 2003 to 2011. Last year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly one in five high school-age boys and 11 percent of school-age children overall have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In some states that number is even higher, up to almost 19 percent in Kentucky.

Adderall use spikes just before spring break as students cram for exams. It peaked to three times the average rate near the end of the fall semester, according to a study last April from Brigham Young University. Data was gathered from Twitter posts: 213,633 tweets from 132,099 unique user accounts mentioned “Adderall.”

And when a major player like Ruiz is given the green light to take Adderall to enhance performance, it is likely that more students will try Adderall, also known as the “poor man’s cocaine” and “smart drug” to help focus and concentrate. (Interestingly, boys [13.2 percent] are more likely than girls [5.6 percent] to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.)

While those statistics are high, more alarming is a National Institute on Drug Abuse survey in 2010 that showed 6.5 percent of high school seniors nationwide have taken Adderall without a prescription. And that number is likely a lot higher: not everyone who obtains Adderall illegally will report it.

But like cocaine and other amphetamines, there is risk, and Adderall side effects can be life-threatening. Many doctors often don’t have the time to assess patients for cardiac issues and thorough psychiatric evaluations. Despite the fact that Adderall has been classified as a DEA Schedule II substance, which means the drug has a “high potential for abuse” and can “lead to severe psychological or physical dependence,” and is considered “dangerous” (less than heroin, more than Valium), a nationwide study in 2007 found that only two percent of undergraduate students said Adderall was “very dangerous and more than 80 percent believed it was “not dangerous at all” or only “slightly dangerous.”

Cindy and Reanna are in the two percent category: Cindy suffered Adderall seizures. Reanna suffered an Adderall stroke. Of course those Adderall users in the 80 percent category don’t believe Adderall heart attack or Adderall stroke could happen to them…

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