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AD/HD, Stimulants, and Substance Abuse

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By Kristin Stanberry

As your teen leaves home to live on his own

As your teen prepares to move into an apartment or a college dorm, make sure he:

  • knows how (and where) to have his prescriptions refilled. If he takes a stimulant, remind him that he may need to visit his doctor each time he needs authorization for the next refill; this adds time to the refill process.
  • has a system for storing and taking his medication on schedule.
  • understands how the lack of adult supervision will make it critical for him to safeguard and safely take his medication - and to stand up against peer pressure to misuse or share his medication.

Stay Tuned

Scientific research into the relationship between AD/HD, stimulant use, and substance use disorders is ongoing. The development of non-stimulant drugs to treat AD/HD will likely continue. As a parent, you'd be wise to stay abreast of news on both fronts.

Medication Warnings

Warnings about possible side effects of prescription medications are updated frequently. To stay abreast of recent warnings that may have been issued on your child's medication, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Education/Information website, and ask your pharmacist for an update each time you refill the prescription.

AD/HD by Other Names and Acronyms

While Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is the official term and acronym used by today's mental health care professionals, it is sometimes referred to by other names and abbreviations. For example, it is sometimes called:

ADHD (without the "slash" in the middle)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Disorder

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.


Comments from readers

"No child, even in middle or high school should ever carry his medications on him. Teach your child that being responsible includes following proper medication protocol. Medications at school should always be kept with the school nurse or health room staff. Keeping medication on him could lead to loss or theft of medication, and perhaps sanctions for your child."