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Nationwide Adderall shortage affecting local dispensaries

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – There is a shortage of Adderall across the country. This is the drug used to treat ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

It’s affecting pharmacies large and small in our area and making it incredibly difficult for customers to fill prescriptions.

“We get calls, probably 20 or 30 a day. ‘Do you have Adderall?’ And the answer to the call will be no,” said Al Spital, pharmacist at Majoria Drugs.

Spitale says they bring in people from Baton Rouge looking for Adderall.

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“They will say, ‘I can’t work without this. I can’t, you know, I feel bad because we were here to fill prescriptions,” Spital said.

He says they have a regular customer base that they have to take care of first, and sometimes they have to turn it down too.

“We order a dozen bottles and get three,” Spital said. “We ordered a dozen bottles the next day, we get four, you know, we never get our full amount so we can never catch up.”

It’s the same case at Vinnie’s Pharmacy.

“Everyone who walks in says I’ve been to a lot of different stores, including the chains and the independents, and it’s just like I said, there’s no choice because nobody has them,” said pharmacist Vincent Polizzio.

More than six in 10 small pharmacies said they were having trouble getting the drug, according to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association in August.

“We’re just looking out every day, checking their inventory and seeing when it’s going to be available and if we can get it, and that’s pretty much the only thing we can do until it’s available again,” Polizzio said.

While this latest wave has been going on for over a month now, this is not a new problem.

Adderall has often been in short supply in recent years, while demand for the drug is at an all-time high for adults who need to focus on work and kids who need it in the classroom.

“You don’t know how long it’s going to be, and it creates a lot of bad feelings and a lack of routine that kids need and that everyone expects,” said Dr. Martin Drell, LSU Health Child Psychiatrist.

Labor shortages combined with a tightly regulated market due to the drug’s Schedule 2 classification are largely at the root of the shortage, which has been on and off since 2019.

There are quotas for how much Adderall can be made and how many dispensaries can fill.

While many try to compensate with other stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, some doctors across the country are warning people not to hit the streets to get their Adderall because you never know what you’re actually going to get.

Drell recommends working with your doctor to see if a different drug or version of it may be prescribed, and always calling the pharmacy before going in to make sure they have it in stock.

Some pharmacists we spoke to say they have trouble getting similar medicines because many people are switching.

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