With all the fuss in the headlines recently about stimulant abuse, you’d think that medications for ADHD had caused the phenomenon. But it’s not true. As long as humans have had access to substances, there has been abuse. Stimulants have been abused at least since 1928 and perhaps earlier. But for all we know, many cases of “abuse” were simply people with ADHD finding benefit from the stimulant. Today, however, there is no question that millions benefit from responsible ADHD treatment using stimulants.
The New York Times seems to be hyperfocused on shamefully boosting its website’s traffic by publishing irresponsible screeds about all aspects of ADHD that only compound public confusion and stigma. (I refuse to link to the stories, because that only encourages the trend.) The ADHD diagnosis and the legitimate medications used to treat it, however, haven’t caused these abuse problems.
If you’re too young to have heard the song, “Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine,” I’ve provided the video above. (Lyrics at the end of this post.) In my book, I write briefly about the history of neurostimulants , including the accidental discovery with Benzedrine that led to stimulants being developed as a treatment for ADHD.