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Adderall Addiction: Lessons from a Son's Suicide

Fourteen million young people take Adderall to treat attention deficit disorder. Many doctors say it's harmless but that's not always the case. Richard Fee’s parents tell how their son's addiction led to his suicide. Read Transcript


Reporter: SINCE

CHILDHOOD, RICHARD LIVED A

STORYBOOK LIFE, STRAIGHT

"A"S, STAR ATHLETE, LOTS OF

FRIENDS.

AND THEN HE STARTED TAKING

THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG

ADDERALL.

IT JUST CHANGED HIS WHOLE

THOUGHT PROCESS.

Reporter: OVER THE

COURSE OF THREE YEARS,

RICHARD'S LIFE SPIRALLED OUT

OF CONTROL, UNTIL HIS FATHER

FOUND HIM HANGING IN HIS

CLOSET.

THE WORST POSSIBLE THING

YOU COULD EVEN IMAGINE.

HERE WAS THIS GREAT KID,

THAT HAD EVERYTHING GOING

FON HIM, EVERYTHING.

SMART, GOOD-LOOKING KID, AND

THE ADDERALL JUST DESTROYED

HIM.

Reporter: ADDERALL IS

PRESCRIBED FOR PEOPLE WITH

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER,

OR A.D.D.

ADDERALL WORKS ON THE BRAIN

TO HELP THEM FOCUS BETTER.

BUT SOME PEOPLE WHO DO NOT

HAVE A.D.D. BELIEVE ADDERALL

MAKES THEM FOCUS BETTER,

TOO, SO THEY TAKE IT TO HELP

THEM STUDY.

RICHARD HAD MENTIONED TO

ME THAT HE HAD GOTTEN AN

ADDERALL FROM ONE OF HIS

FRIENDS AT EXAM TIME.

Reporter: HE IS NOT

ALONE.

AN ESTIMATED ONE IN FIVE

COLLEGE STUDENTS USE IT,

LARGELY UNAWARE OF THE

PHYSICAL DANGER, AND THAT IT

IS A FELONY TO USE SOMEONE

ELSE'S PRESCRIPTION.

HERE IN THE LIBRARY

DURING EXAM WEAK, YO WEEK,

YOU CAN HEAR PEOPLE ASKING

EACH OTHER, I NEED AN

ADDERALL PILL.

PEOPLE DO OFFER IT TO EACH

OTHER.

Reporter: SOON RICHARD

ONES HIONCE HIT HIS OWN

SUPPLY.

IF YOU JUST GO TO A

DOCTOR AND TELL THEM YOU

HAVE THE SIGNS OF A.D.D.,

WITHOUT EVEN CHECKING,

THEY'LL GIVE YOU A

PRESCRIPTION.

THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT HE

DID.

Reporter: THIS CLINICAL

PSYCHOLOGIST RESEARCHES THE

MISUSE OF DRUGS LIKE

ADDERALL.

SHE SAYS IT IS EASY TO FAKE

A.D.D.

IF YOU TALK TO MOST

COLLEGE STUDENTS, THEY COULD

PROBABLY TELL YOU A DOCTOR,

OR TWO OR THREE, IN TOWN TO

GO TO, AND WHAT TO SAY OR DO

IN ORDER TO GET A

PRESCRIPTION.

Reporter: ADDERALL IS A

CLASS TWO NARCOTIC.

IT CAN BE VERY ADDICTIVE.

YOU CAN GET A EUPHORIC

FEELING WITH A CRASH

AFTERWARDS.

Reporter: AFTER

COLLEGE, RICHARD MOVED BACK

HOME WITH HIS PARENTS AND

CONVINCED TWO SEPARATE

DOCTORS TO EACH PRESCRIBE

HIM ADDERALL.

RICHARD WOULD BE UP FOR

DAYS.

BE UP FOR THREE DAYS IN A

ROW, WALKING THE HOUSE 3:00,

4:00, 5:00 IN THE MORNING,

WIDE AWAKE.

AND THEN HE WOULD CRASH FOR

A COUPLE OF DAYS AND SLEEP

FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS.

Reporter: THE FAMILY

TRIED TO GET RICHARD'S

DOCTORS TO STOP PRESCRIBING

THE DRUG.

I SAID, YOU KEEP GIVING

ADDERALL TO MY SON, YOU'RE

GOING TO KILL HIM.

Reporter: BUT RICHARD

WAS OVER 18, AND HIS DOCTORS

SAID LEGALLY RICHARD'S

TREATMENT WAS PRIVATE.

THE DOCTORS STAYED IN THE

RECEPTION AREA, BEHIND THE

GLASS PARTITION, AND SAID HE

COULDN'T TALK TO US.

Reporter: RICHARD'S

DOCTORS BOTH INCREASED HIS

DOSE.

YOU CAN BECOME PSYCHOTIC

AND LOSE THE ABILITY TO

THINK CLEARLY AND DO THINGS

THAT YOU OTHERWISE WOULDN'T

DO.

I'VE SEEN HIM, HE WAS ON

THE COMPUTER AND HE JUST PUT

LITTLE PIECES OF SCOTCH TAPE

ON HIS FINGERS BECAUSE HE

DIDN'T WANT THE KEYBOARD TO

BE ABLE TO GET HIS

FINGERPRINTS.

WHY, I DON'T KNOW.

HE WOULD COVER UP THE CAMERA

ON IT BECAUSE HE FELT LIKE

PEOPLE COULD BE WATCHING

HIM.

DURING THIS TIME, RICHARD

IS BECOMING MORE VIOLENT.

HE IS MAKING THREATS.

WE WERE SCARED OF OUR OWN

SON DURING THAT TIME.

WE SLEPT WITH OUR DOORS

LOCKED.

Reporter: NOT LONG

AFTER THAT, RICHARD TOOK HIS

LIFE.

IT SHOULD HAVE NEVER,

EVER HAVE HAPPENED.

AND IT WAS THE ADDERALL.

Reporter: PEOPLE WITH

FAMILIAR WITH RICHARD'S

STORY SAY IT ILLUSTRATES THE

NEED FOR STRICTER GUIDELINES

FOR DIAGNOSING A.D.D., AND

FOR TRYING

NON-PHARMACEUTICAL

TREATMENTS BEFORE

PRESCRIBING ADDERALL.

THERE IS NOW CLEAR

EVIDENCE THAT THE MEDICATION

SHOULD BE, IN MOST

INSTANCES, THE LAST LINE OF

DEFENSE, AND NOT THE FIRST

LINE OF DEFENSE.

AND WHAT THE RESEARCH IS

CLEARLY SHOWING IS THAT OVER

THE LON LONG-TERM, THE

DRUGS ARE NOT AS EFFECTIVE

AS BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION.

Reporter: THE FAMILY

WANTS CHANGES, REQUIRING

DOCTORS TO SEE WHAT OTHER

PRESCRIPTIONS THEIR PATIENTS

ARE TAKING, AND REQUIRING

THEM TO NOTIFY PARENTS OF

ADULT CHILDREN WHO ARE IN

DANGER.

THERE WAS INFORMATION

THAT THEY HAD IN THEIR FILE,

THAT IF THEY HAD SHARED IT

WITH US AT THAT TIME, WE'D

LIKE TO THINK THINGS WOULD

HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT.

THEY NOTED IN RICHARD'S FILE

THEY THOUGHT HE WAS

SUICIDAL.

Reporter: THEY SAY

ADDICTS SHOULD FIND A

QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL TO

WEAN OFF IT.

YOU DON'T COLD TURKEY

THIS STUFF.

YOU NEED TO BE TAKEN OFF IT

SLOWLY.

Reporter: ALTHOUGH THEY

CAN'T GET THEIR SON BACK,

THEY HOPE TELLING THEIR

STORY WILL PREVENT OTHERS

FROM LOSING THEIR LOVED

ONES.

LORI JOHNSON, CBN NEWS.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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