The new Netflix original documentary Take Your Pills examines the use, abuse, history, effect and impact of the prescription drug Adderall in the United States. Intriguingly, for those outside the US, it also, perhaps completely unintentionally, presents as a documentary about competition in the American education system. It’s out of control, an epidemic, and it seems Adderall is the drug it’s decided to take, en masse. The film, which has a point of view, doesn’t see many long-term benefits in this.
Neither should it, nor we. I knew basically nothing about Adderall, and now I know to make sure my relationship with it remains non-existent. While by no means as devastating – yet – as America’s opioid crisis, the infiltration of Adderall into the United States is staggering and extremely depressing. The film takes pains to allow advocates of the drug – including mothers who are absolutely convinced that their children should be taking the drug daily – to have their say, and the drug itself may indeed be a good thing for the right patient, but it is abundantly clear, at least as presented here, that it is vastly over-prescribed, over-used, and routinely abused on a massive scale, all contributing, of course, to very fat big pharmaceutical profits.
Outside of making sure my daughter never gets her hands on Adderall, I won’t be doing much with my new intelligence (no pun intended, or perhaps achieved). The film isn’t so much a call to action, or a wake-up call (no pun etc) as a curiosity. Who knew? Maybe everyone else. I didn’t. What a mess.