Icelandic ADHD and depression sufferers are considerably more likely than their Danish counterparts to be prescribed medication, according to Icelandic Directorate of Health figures. Denmark has itself seen such prescriptions skyrocket.
Jyllands Posten reported last week that some 31,000 Danes are on ADHD medication, such as Ritalin. That is twenty-times more people than 12 years ago. A large proportion of those on the drugs are teenagers under 19.
The Icelandic Directorate of Health says that comparative figures for Iceland show that more medicines are proscribed to treat both depression and ADHD in Iceland than Denmark, proportional to population.
The surgeon general told Visir.is that there is scant agreement on what constitutes an appropriate level of drug consumption and use of certain drugs is higher or lower depending on a country’s age demographic. There are, for example, proportionately more children in Iceland than in Denmark, which partly explains the higher incidence of ADHD.
The surgeon general says that although Denmark is worried about the increasing use of such medication, it does not automatically mean that Iceland should be worried — even though it prescribes more of the drugs to depression and ADHD patients. The rate of increase in Icelandic drug prescriptions has been slower than in Denmark.
The Directorate of Health, with other public bodies, has been in charge of prescription monitoring since last year and has launched a campaign against the misuse of prescription drugs. The results of that campaign are not yet known.