Major shortage of drugs used to treat ADHD forces Long Island family to take drastic measures

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Major shortage of drugs used to treat ADHD forces drastic measures
The CDC says more than 6 million kids in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, but now there's major shortage on the medications for the disorder. Stacey Sager has the story.

EAST MORICHES, Long Island (WABC) -- The CDC says more than 6 million kids in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, but now a major shortage on the medications used to treat the disorder are causing parents to get desperate.

Playing the hand they're dealt, the Kolsin family in East Moriches, Long Island, like so many others right now are just trying to cope with shortages of critical medications.

Eighth grader Jordan Kolsin is living with both Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. His three medicines are a delicate balance to begin with, and one of them, Adderall, is now in short supply.

The potential impact is enormous.

"I may get distracted a lot with other things, where for example, I may be worried about my nails or something like that while the teacher is teaching a lesson," Jordan Kolsin said.

"He wants to succeed. We want to see him succeed," Jordan's father Tracy Kolsin said. "There's a lot of stress in the house when he's not able to be on the medication that he needs."

Doctors tell us Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager that there are three separate reasons including: some production problems with generic Adderall, increased demand for all amphetamines in the wake of the pandemic, and also certain caps that have been imposed by the government, given this class of drugs.

"Perhaps these caps, although well-intentioned, do create problems for families, and it can be stressful, well beyond inconvenient, it can be hurtful," said Dr. Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children's Medical Center.

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Pharmacists, like Nidhin Mohan in Deer Park, are feeling helpless as panicked parents call for hours each morning.

"50 to 100 calls, just for patients who are just asking, 'Oh, do you have Adderall? Do you have Adderall?'" Mohan said.

Mohan said that the pharmacies can only refill certain drugs like Ritalin and Adderall "very sparsely."

After trying different pharmacies for Jordan, the Kolsin's settled on a slightly different medication, in the same class.

"So, we've been playing around with those afternoon meds to just get him through whatever the stash is at school right now, and then we'll start him on the new medication," Jordan's mother Barri Kolsin said.

This as some of the drug manufacturers now lobby the government to lift the caps.

Right now, the drug companies are estimating these medications will be replenished by March or April. Not terribly long from now, but for families like the Kolsins, it means another month, or two of painful trial and error.


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