Moms are popping pills to be better parents

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by SHELLY SLATER

WFAA

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 6:35 AM

Some mothers who are trying to "do it all" are turning to pills to get through the day.

The Centers for Disease Control says deaths from prescription drug abuse have quadrupled since 1999. Now some moms are shopping doctors... looking for prescriptions.

Heather Moore juggles a lot: A three-year-old, a one-year-old, a full-time job, and a husband who's away in the Army.

Right after her first baby, she noticed she just couldn't keep up.

“I felt like the worst mother ever," Moore said. "I would get up, go somewhere, and I'd be like, 'Crap... I forgot a bottle.' 'I forgot the diaper bag.' I was like, 'What is wrong with me? Do other mothers do this?"

Moore, like most moms, wants to give her children the best. For that she needed a change.

She wanted medication. She went to a doctor hoping to receive a prescription for Adderall.

“I told him I had heard about Adderall... can I try it? It was that easy," she said.

Moore described symptoms of ADHD and passed a test proving otherwise she's drug-free as part of her diagnosis.

And now, after years of legal use, the change is drastic.

“I am a supermom, that is all there is to it," she said. "I am on my game for my kids.”

Dr. Stephen Garrison with the Caron Texas drug and rehabilitation center — who is not working with Moore — said it only takes one month to become addicted to prescription pills. What follows is a lifetime of recovery.

He said doctors can be too quick to write prescriptions, and moms are shopping around until they get what they want.

“They learn very quickly from people using; they share notes; they compare, figure out what works, and use it again and again,” Dr. Garrison said.

A new database lets doctors search for all patient prescriptions to avoid repeats. But Dr. Garrison says that is often skipped, because it takes so much paperwork.

Taking drugs, he says, sets a new normal.

For Moore, that means only four hours of sleep a night... and then another pill.

“I shake all the time; I can't sleep at night,” she said. "If I wasn't on it, I would be running around like a chicken with my head cut off.”

Moore said her use is based on need, not recreational use, although the street value of her pills comes at $10 to $15 per tablet.

"Adderall is a hot commodity around here," Moore said. "I can't tell you how many moms I have had come up to me and say, 'Can I buy some Adderall off of you?'"

And it's not just Adderall. Some mothers choose Xanax to take the edge off.

“Once the stimulant wears off, they feel not normal and nervous, and they go use again,” Dr. Garrison said.

“I love it," Heather Moore said. "I love the way it makes me feel. I have energy. I'm in a great mood all the time. I love it."

But Moore conceded that she is likely addicted to the medication.

"It is something I could live without, but I don't want to.”

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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