Pressured by Congress to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs and “false claims of A.D.D.,” Major League Baseball is pleased to report that the number of exemptions for ADHD medications are tapering off. Is this really news worth celebrating? I’m not so sure.
In 2007, the number of players receiving exemptions for ADHD rose to 108, from 28 in 2006. That figure strikes me as reasonable, not alarming, given increasing public awareness during that time period.
After all, the players receiving exemptions represent about 9 percent of total players, which number 1,200 or so.
Extremely conservative estimates place the percentage of adults with ADHD in the general population at about 4 percent, but experts acknowledge that using more realistic criteria bumps the figure as high as 16 percent.
Yet, as reported in a previous post (“Anti-Doper Doc Dopey about ADHD?”), this spike created quite the rhubarb among sports officials, including non-savvy ADHD physicians.
“This is incredible. This is quite spectacular. There seems to be an epidemic of ADD in major league baseball,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the banned-substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency.
This recent article in The New York Times (“Number of M.L.B. Players Given Drug Exemptions Up Slightly“) explains the latest report on all medication exemptions.
I welcome your comments.