I had several clients run out of their ADHD medication, and due to drug shortages were unable to find the medication needed in time for their final exams. The result was disappointing losses for their academics, mental health and social lives. I encourage all families who love someone with ADHD to create a plan of action to obtain enough medication to last through the entire semester.
Medication management has always been a difficult task for those with ADHD due to time blindness and difficulty planning ahead. There are time limited rules to buy a controlled substance which is difficult to navigate with executive function weakness. Drug shortages are making it very difficult to get medication without help from loved ones.
This problem is too big for an unmedicated ADHD person to handle on their own. If you have ADHD and find medication useful (as most of my clients do) please ask for help from your family to do an all out search together. By dividing the job of locating available medication in a coordinated effort, you dramatically increase your chances of getting the medication you need. The following information brings into perspective how serious the drug shortages have become for medications.
According to a report commissioned by the Senate that was published March 15, 2023 new drug shortages in the US increased nearly 30% between 2021 and 2022. At the end of 2022, drug shortages experienced a record five-year high of 295 active drug shortages. It also found that while the average drug shortage lasts about 1.5 years, more than 15 critical drug products have been in shortage for over a decade. Increased demand can cause shortages, but the way drugs are made and sold for the US market is also a large part of the problem.
Here is an infographic from the Food and Drug Administration to explain the way drugs are made and sold.
I don’t have any answers for the big picture problems of the drug shortages but I do believe that understanding the problem and the likelihood that it will be a long term one helps us know what kind of action to take. If we help one another, we will have a greater chance of getting the medication we need that enables us to do our best.