Criminal Justice

Those with Serious ADHD Committed Fewer Crimes While on Medication, Study Suggests


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A large-scale study in Sweden suggests that people with serious attention deficet hyperactivity disorder commit fewer crimes when taking their medication than when they don’t take prescribed drugs.

The study examined criminal convictions of 8,000 people, mostly young adults, who sometimes took medication for ADHD over a three-year period, the New York Times reports. When they were on their medications, men were 32 percent less likely to have a criminal conviction and women were 41 percent less likely.

A study author, Dr. Paul Lichtenstein of the Karolinska Institute, told the Times that there are pros and cons to medication for ADHD, and it’s wrong to conclude that everyone with the disorder should be continuously medicated. But “in young adults, the age where criminality is most common, you should consider medication because it is more harmful for these people to be involved in criminal activities,” he said.

Lichtenstein responded to a suggestion that the medication may be making better criminals who don’t get caught rather than reducing crime. “I don’t think you would commit the crime,” he said, “and then just not get caught.”

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