ADHD medication shortage having significant impact on children and young people, says RCPsych

Statement / comment
09 February 2024

The BBC has raised awareness of the impact the global ADHD medication shortage is having on children and young people. It has been speaking to families about the difficulties their children are facing at school because they can’t access their usual prescription.

Following the BBC's coverage on this important topic, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has now issued a statement highlighting the importance of ADHD medication and encouraging schools to make reasonable adjustments for students where possible.

Dr Elaine Lockhart, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Child and Adolescent Faculty, said:

“We sympathise with every child whose education has been adversely affected by the current shortage of ADHD medication. Many young people rely on this medication as a core part of their treatment, alongside other forms of care such as parenting interventions and psychological therapy, to help them reach their full potential. For some, there are no substitutes that are as effective medication.

“The current shortage is also affecting newly diagnosed children who are unable to access an initial prescription. As a result, they may be more likely to act impulsively at home and at school or to be inattentive and forgetful.

“We understand that many schools and teachers are themselves already under a lot of pressure, but it is important that reasonable adjustments are made for students with ADHD where there are the resources to do so.

“There are simple but effective ways to help these pupils focus and perform well at school such as through classroom seating plans, breaking tasks down into sizable chunks and increased opportunities for physical activities.

“The current medication shortage is a global issue. It is important that stakeholders work together to resolve it as quickly as possible, and the College will continue to push for this issue to be made a top priority.”

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