The Adderall shortage sparked concern in October of 2022 as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the issue. Now, nearly six months later, the shortage continues and the concern has grown understandably heightened. People are wondering when the shortage will end, what continues to cause it, and if they will have the drug consistently available to them.


Adderall is a stimulant drug that contains amphetamine and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are many people who rely on Adderall as part of their daily lives. When they manage their ADHD symptoms with this treatment, they are able to focus and function more efficiently at work and school. Without the drug, those with ADHD may experience an increase in their symptoms, making it harder to focus and function properly.


The shortage of Adderall has been primarily caused by an increase in demand. More and more people are diagnosed with ADHD annually and a shortage of the drug has resulted from manufacturers’ inability to keep up with this ever-growing rise in demand. One of the core issues is that there are many people seeking the drug inappropriately, faking symptoms of ADHD. The drug has become known as a, “performance enhancing drug,” and is prescribed when a healthcare provider looks at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria. Inattention symptoms include, but are not limited to, making mistakes at work or school, not following directions, and avoiding tasks. With criteria like this, maintaining a prescription while pretending to have these symptoms is not that difficult. The shortage is further compounded by the fact that the drug is often sold on the black market. As a controlled substance that is highly addictive, Adderall is regulated by the FDA and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to fight this very issue. In order to avoid circulating more amphetamine than necessary, the DEA limits how much drug manufacturers can produce each year.


It’s unknown when the Adderall shortage will end; however, steps are being taken to alleviate the issue as much as possible. This includes the regulation of the drug and a focus on making sure the drug is distributed through legal channels. Manufacturers of Adderall are also working diligently to increase production but this is easier said than done. For those who truly need this drug, it is crucial that steps continue to be put in place to ensure they have access to it in sufficient quantities.

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