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For Young People With ADHD, Drug Therapy Does Not Lead to Drug Abuse

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"The second component is that the treatment and diagnosis of ADHD has been beleaguered [by] the same concerns, so the evidence refuting these assumptions is very encouraging, scientifically and from the public health perspective as well," Biederman says.

"[It] has been very common practice in the treatment of ADHD to interrupt treatment during adolescence, [but] adolescence is the period of heightened risk for substance abuse," Biederman points out. "So interrupting treatment may be a very bad move, because of the [increased] risk for substance abuse and [the fact that it] can be [avoided] by appropriate clinical care. ADHD is a condition that lends itself to risky behavior and self-medication."

The researchers acknowledge that this study doesn't allow for making "definitive conclusions regarding the risks associated with [drug] therapy of ADHD [in people] beyond the age of our current sample, in females, or in nonwhite subjects." Biederman says that the next step is to follow the study subjects into their young adult years.

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