Who’s raiding your medicine cabinet?

Medicine cabinets. Every home (apartment, town home, condo, detached single family, mobile home, travel home) has some type of cabinet that serves to hold medicines, shaving gear, and dental hygiene products. Historians claim that the earliest form of a “medicine chest” was in Egypt, described as woven palm fiber case on a bamboo stand which fit into a wooden box. Regardless of when the first modern day medicine cabinet was invented, intuitively people knew this was a safe place to store drugs, as little hands (except those of precocious toddlers who liked to climb) could not reach anything dangerous or poisonous.

Over the years we have all been entertained by scenes in movies or television shows that depict a house guest rummaging through someone’s medicine cabinet, famous ones include a Seinfeld episode and Steve Martin in Father of the Bride. As a society, we have come to consider the medicine cabinet sacrosanct!

Over the past few years many articles have been written to alert parents to keep a “watchful eye” on their medicine cabinets when storing opiate based pain medicines which are often routinely prescribed for post surgical procedures or injuries. We are encouraged to take advantage of prescription take back days, in order to rid our home of these outdated and unused opiates. We are cautioned to be alert to our teenagers and young adult children who might raid the medicine cabinet, additionally we should be aware that children’s friends, adult house guests, contractors, household employees and even people touring your home during “open house” are now suspect.  

But now we learn that parents, particularly mothers, are raiding the household medicine cabinet not looking for opiates, but instead seeking out the latest coping drug in a long line of what we have often referred to as ‘mother’s little helper.’ What’s the newest drug of choice? Adderall! Adderall is the brand-name pharmaceutical psychostimulant drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes which is indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

You read correctly, many moms who have a child diagnosed with ADHD are becoming addicted to their child’s Adderall. This week ABC Nightline reported on this latest ‘mother’s little helper.’

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Historically some mothers have become addicted and dependent on Valium (60’s) and Prozac (90’s). If you are “old” enough to remember the now infamous recording: The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper,” then you are all too familiar with how mothers became addicted to the little yellow pill. This rock hit was a wake-up call in 1966 and Nightline’s report is a sobering wake-up call today for all families.

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