The Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) will host a free symposium on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Louisiana on Dec. 9, 2014. The symposium, which is open to parents, teachers, health care professionals and other stakeholders, will address the frequency of diagnosis, medication rates, and proper use of ADHD medications.

The symposium hopes to bring attention to and develop solutions for the alarming rate of ADHD medication utilization in Louisiana. This past spring - Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy issued a report highlighting Louisiana's high rates of ADHD medication use.  

Louisiana has the second highest state ADHD prescription rate in the United States at 4.7 percent for the population as a whole and for boys ages 12 to 18 the rate is 13.6 percent. ADHD medication use has risen 35.5 percent from 2008 to 2012; young adult use has nearly doubled. Louisiana also has the highest treatment rate for girls ages 12-18 and women 19-25. In response, the state legislature called on LDH to study how to ensure the proper utilization of ADHD medication in the state.

"With the alarming rate of ADHD medication use in Louisiana, we see an urgent need to gather doctors, parents, teachers, and members of the community to explore this issue and develop recommendations to curb these troubling trends," said LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert, "The symposium is designed to foster a productive discussion and develop solutions regarding the practices for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in Louisiana, and I'm looking forward to the dialogue."

Topics that will be discussed at the symposium include state and national data, trends in diagnosing and prescribing ADHD medication, best practices for diagnosing and treating ADHD, and effective ways the state can address the rising use of ADHD medication in Louisiana.

Secretary Kliebert will open the general session of the symposium. Other presenters include Dr. Susanna Visser, Lead Epidemiologist of the Child Development Studies Team in the Division of Human Development and Disability at the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; Ryan Bilbo, GIS Manager at DHH; Jeff Capobianco, PhD, Director of Practice Improvement at National Council for Behavioral Health; and Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, pediatrician and child and adolescent psychiatrist and Director for Tulane Infant Mental Health Services.

To register for the symposium visit

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit