1 in 13 Kids on Behavioral Meds

Most parents think the drugs are making a difference, study says
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2014 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – A new survey provides a look at just how many kids in the US are taking medication for behavioral problems such as ADHD—figure about 1 in every 13, reports HealthDay News. The survey of 17,000 parents by the National Center for Health Statistics found that 7.5% of kids aged 6-17 had taken prescription drugs of some kind in the previous six months. The survey didn't break down specific conditions or drugs, but the vast majority of cases—somewhere around 80%—are believed to involve ADHD, reports NBC News.

If there's an upside, it's that most parents (55%) thought the drugs were making a big difference. "We can't advise parents on what to do, but I think it's positive that over half of parents reported the medications helped 'a lot,'" says the report's author. Some specifics:

  • More boys than girls were on meds, 9.7% vs. 5.2%
  • More white children (9.2%) were on meds than black (7.4%) or Hispanic (4.5%) kids
  • Kids on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program were more likely to have a prescription (9.9%) than kids on private insurance (6.7%) or with no insurance (2.7%)
Click to read about a disorder gaining traction in psychiatric circles called sluggish cognitive tempo, or SCT. (Read more children's health stories.)

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