Opinion piece by Digital Managing Editor Will Clifford
Opinion piece by Digital Managing Editor Will Clifford

When the bottle goes dry

It just doesn’t stick. Why should I even try? It’s useless. 

I used to not be able to do school. I couldn’t sit still in class, I couldn’t pay attention to my teachers and I couldn’t stay on task. 

I promise I tried. You watched me sit at the table for hours and study.

I reached my breaking point. I was nearly failing half of my classes. As tears streamed down my face, I literally cried for help. 

My parents took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with ADHD and gave me a prescription for Focalin, a medicine similar to Adderall. 

The first time I took the medicine, everything clicked. I felt like I took off sunglasses that had been glued to my eyes for my whole life. With my medicine, I could do school. I stopped disrupting class, I didn’t zone out during lectures, I didn’t need to be reminded to stay on task and I started to remember things when I studied. 

For years, as long as I took my meds, I didn’t struggle in school. 

But this year, two weeks before I was scheduled to take the ACT, the bottle went dry. The ADHD medicine shortage hit at the worst time, and I had to scramble to try to find a prescription. 

It was like I was back in middle school. I was thrown back into the harsh reality of going through school unmedicated. Just a couple of days before I had no issue paying attention in class or taking notes or studying, but now focusing for 45 minutes straight felt like running an uphill marathon without shoes. My grades started slipping, and I knew that if I didn’t get my prescription filled soon, I’d never be able to bring my grades back up. I felt the same feelings of helplessness, anger and confusion – no matter how hard I tried, nothing stuck. 

My parents and I were constantly on the phone with pharmacies, trying to find somewhere that could fulfill my prescription. All of them had the same response — no.

A whole week passed, and still, no meds. With the ACT just days away, I entered full-on panic mode. All of the time I spent preparing for the test would go down the drain if I couldn’t get my prescription in time. 

While my story has a happy ending, many other students across the country were not as lucky. Fortunately, one of the pharmacies told my doctor they received a new shipment of Focalin and I picked up my prescription before the end of the week. If I had a different doctor, lived in a different city or took a different medication, I would still be one of many students suffering from the Nationwide ADHD medication shortages. 

Since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies all ADHD medication as controlled substances, there’s a hard cap on how much factories can produce. Recently, more and more people have been diagnosed with ADHD, however the DEA has not adequately adjusted  the production limitations. The government administration that is supposed to be keeping Americans safe is inadvertently harming students. Nobody should have to go through school worrying that their ability to learn will suddenly disappear. 

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD — please go get tested. It can’t hurt. The Marksman Wellness Center is full of professionals who will guide you through the examination process. 

It’s hard to truly realize how much having ADHD negatively impacts you until you experience life with the aid of medication. If you are worried about the side effects, do some research. And don’t just use the internet— consult a medical professional. When you think you have a concussion, you don’t hesitate to get medical help because going through life with one is incredibly difficult and could severely damage your brain. So, why is there a stigma against seeking help for ADHD treatments? If you can help yourself live an easier, healthier life, why wouldn’t you? 

Like I said, when you have ADHD, it’s like you have sunglasses glued to your eyes. But, if you try going on medication, the sunglasses will fall off, and you will be able to see the bright world the same as everyone else.

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