There’s A New Candy-Flavored Amphetamine Just For Kids

This fruity new version of Adderall melts in the mouth and is marketed to children. What could possibly go wrong?

Screenshot via

Have you ever bitten into an Adderall pill? If not, let me spare you: It’s an ungodly flavor, a tangy mixture of cat hair and metal. The taste is so unpalatable that most people, especially children, would never accidentally eat, say, an entire handful. As of last week, however, that might be changing, now that Neos Therapeutics, a drug manufacturer based in Texas, has started selling Adzenys, an amphetamine-based drug similar to Adderall being marketed specifically to children with ADHD.

Adzenys is the first-ever tablet of its kind that’s been formulated to dissolve on the tongue rather than swallowed like a normal pill. Apparently, it tastes like orange candy. (I requested a sample and expect a brick of legalese in return.) The extended-release drug was approved by the FDA back in January, and though it might be a “scary” thought that someone could confuse a daily dose of amphetamines for a Sweet Tart, Adzenys solves a number of issues for parents who haven’t had much luck getting their children to take prescription medication. A dissolvable tablet doesn’t need water, so it can be taken on the go. And a tasty pill becomes more of a treat than chore.

This welcome flexibility could conceivably help kids receive proper treatment and, in turn, concentrate and succeed in school. If children are taking the drug anyway, what’s the harm in making its consumption a little easier? Why should a parent have to sprinkle the contents of a pill into food as if their child were a dog?

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Why should a parent have to sprinkle the contents of a pill into food as if their child were a dog?[/quote]

William E. Pelham Jr., chair for the department of psychology at Florida International University, compared the dissolving tablets to drugs like Claritin. “Orally disintegrating tablets have been around for several decades,” he said. “Many psychoactive drugs are available in this form, but apparently this is the first formulation for ADHD. The delivery system of stimulants should not make a difference in effectiveness or abuse potential.”

Opponents of the pharmaceutical industry are crying foul, though. If our drugs feel like candy when we consume them, then the space between the two, which should be massive, begins to collapse. Vipin Garg, the CEO of Neos Therapeutics, isn’t helping his cause, either. Earlier this week, he told STAT that the company was putting its commercial muscle behind Adzenys so they could get “ahead of back to school season.”

Points for speaking like a cartoon villain, but this sort of sales-first, kids-be-damned style of drug marketing provides ammunition to those who argue we’re in the midst of an overprescription epidemic. And it’s an issue quite distinct from college students who abuse Adderall to save their GPA. ADHD is very real, and there’s a massive debate over whether too many children are on medication as a first line of treatment. As of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that upwards of 11 percent of kids under 18 are diagnosed with ADHD, a dramatic spike from the historical average of around 5 percent. Over a third of ADHD diagnoses are made before the age of six. The CDC recommends behavioral therapy before moving to medication, yet approximately 75 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD take pills for it. $12.7 billion in ADHD meds were sold last year, an increase from $4.7 billion from a decade ago, and a mere rest stop on the way to a projected $17.5 billion by 2020.

Pelham Jr. certainly agrees with the CDC. “That is the main story line for ADHD—how do we get physicians to stop prescribing meds as the first line?”

It’s a good question, especially in an ever-growing market with a future that seems imminently chewable. Just last month, Shire (which also sells Adderall) filed an application with the FDA for a new formulation of Vyvanse, one of the most popular ADHD drugs, that can be chewed rather than swallowed. Pfizer got approval last December for QuilliChew ER, an extended-release version of methylphenidate (aka Ritalin). Adderall, when pressed to the tongue, is already coated with a sweet flavor to encourage swallowing. (Just don’t bite into it. Trust me.)

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]If amphetamine salts can taste like candy, the potential for a child to go all 'Flintstones Vitamins' on a fistful must be high. [/quote]

I asked Dr. Mark Bertin, author of Mindful Parenting For ADHD, about the importance of taste when it comes to medication. “Not taking ADHD medication because of flavor or texture is fairly rare,” he said. “If the flavor helps get rid of stress in a stressful situation, and if there’s no unique side effect, then it seems like another good option to have available. Although the fruit flavor would make me concerned a child would eat a bunch because they taste good. There may be a higher safety concern around that.”

What’s left is our medicine cabinets, which should be locked tight. I also humbly propose that in order to open these bottles, one must solve a math problem or an enigmatic riddle. If amphetamine salts can taste like candy, the potential for a child to go all “Flintstones Vitamins” on a fistful must be high.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents to know both what and how much they are putting in their child’s body. If it’s easier when the medication disintegrates on their child’s tongue, then dissolvable tablets like Adzenys and chewy versions of major ADHD drugs on the way will find a receptive audience.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News