Stimulant Misuse High in College, Especially Among Males and Students with ADHD
A third of college students reported misuse of prescription stimulants, with a significantly higher rate of misuse reported among male participants and young adults with ADHD, according to a new study.
July 9, 2021
Nearly one-third of college students reported misuse of prescription stimulant medication, with significantly higher rates of misuse reported among male participants and young adults with ADHD, according to a new Journal of Attention Disorders study.1
Researchers studied 144 participants, all students in their fourth year of the Trajectories Related to ADHD in College (TRAC) project, a 5-year longitudinal investigation into the functional trajectories of college students with ADHD relative to those without ADHD.
Half of college students with ADHD reported misusing prescription stimulants compared to 19.6% of those without ADHD. Students with ADHD also reported having used stimulants for non-medical purposes (29%), to feel better about themselves (27.4%), and to try someone else’s treatment (32.3%). Notably, none of the participants without ADHD reported having misused stimulants to feel better about themselves. Researchers suggest that increasing academic self-efficacy should be the focus of interventions aimed at minimizing stimulant abuse among college students with ADHD.
Researchers conclude that “prescription stimulant medication is among the most commonly misused prescription drug among adolescents,” and additional research is needed to establish interventions that reduce prescription stimulant misuse among adolescents and young adults with ADHD.
1 Francis AR, Weyandt LL, Anastopoulos AD, DuPaul GJ, Shepard E. Outcomes and Predictors of Stimulant Misuse in College Students with and Without ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. June 2021. doi:10.1177/10870547211027650