Health & Spirit

When parents divert their child's ADHD meds

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 2015 Will Smith film called "Diversion" in French and "Focus" in English, Smith's conman character, Nicky, is diverted from his main focus -- pulling off a successful con -- by his on-again-off-again romance with Margot Robbie's character, a grifter named Jess.

While diversions may make for amusing plotlines, diverting medications away from a youngster with ADHD -- when the meds are designed to help the child focus -- well, that's more rotten than almost anything, especially if you're the child's parent!

For years docs have warned teens about giving (or selling) their ADHD meds to friends. A national survey in 2006-2007 showed that 6 percent of college students used stimulants, such as Adderall, non-medically in the previous year. But most docs never thought parents might be diverting their kid's ADHD meds for themselves!

Now, a study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology reveals that 16 percent of parents with kids on ADHD meds divert those meds to another household member, most frequently themselves! And if the parent was diagnosed with, or suspected of having, ADHD, that rose to 33 percent.

We almost don't know where to start addressing the problems this causes! First, a child with ADHD must be maintained on prescribed medication without interruption for it to be safe and effective. Second, while diagnosing of ADHD in adulthood is complex, treatment can be effective if you get your own medication, receive behavioral and cognitive therapy and make sure to get daily aerobic activity. Then, everyone will be much happier.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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