Everyone and Their Mom Is On Adderall

By McCarton Ackerman 06/26/12

Adderall prescriptions for US women have risen 750%—and many take the drug to become "better mothers."

Betsey Degree nearly lost her family when
her adderall habit got out of control.
Photo via

In case you haven't been paying attention, it seems everyone in the US is taking adderall these days—not only to treat ADHD, but also to get better grades, and increasingly, to become a speed-fueled "supermom". The number of Adderall prescriptions for American women ages 26-39 from 2002-2010 has increased by 750%. Some women are taking it the powerful (and addictive) stimulant to treat ADHD as prescribed, but others use it as a diet pill—and many women are saying they abuse the stimulant because they feel it makes them better mothers. "I grew up in a house where my mom was very neat," says Betsy Degree, a mom from suburban Minneapolis. "Everything was really clean, beautiful dinners every night and that didn't come naturally for me. I was able to get all the stuff done around the house. I was able to cook the dinner and have everything perfect." Degree became addicted to Adderall after taking it to help her maintain that "perfect" household—but after exhausting every method possible for getting prescriptions from her doctor, she turned to meth, lost her business, and nearly lost custody of her kids. Reportedly, many of these mothers have discovered how to score the drug or trick their doctor into prescribing it to them. Registered nurse Joani Gammil says she read a book that told her how to lie to her doctor to get Adderall and continued using it until she nearly died of an overdose. Some doctors are claiming that abuse of Adderall among mothers has become an epidemic. "This is a significant problem," says Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden, an addiction treatment facility. "We've got an increase in women using drugs like Adderall ending up in our treatment programs...We know from a medical perspective it's dangerous and can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, even death."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.