Race, Gender Plays Role in College Students’ Misuse of Prescription Stimulants

A new study found significant racial and gender differences in use of stimulants on college campuses. White students were more likely to have prescriptions for the drugs. Asians and Latinos in the study were more likely to engage in smoking prescription stimulants, which can alter the rate of release, absorption, bioavailability and reinforcing effects of the drug, which could increase vulnerability for dependence. The researchers also found that Asians and Latinos were more likely to pay more for the pills than white students. Whites were more likely to take the drugs to party longer or to improve concentration. The only gender difference was the motivation to lose weight.

In Summary: Illicit use of prescription stimulants is increasing on college campuses and there appear to be important differences in how these drugs are used by different racial groups. It’s possible that targeted interventions among Asian and Latino students could focus on the additional risks associated with smoking the drugs. Those working with young women may wish to address the use of these drugs as a weight-loss tool. (Source: Cruz S, Sumstine S, Menendez J, Bavarian N (2017) Health-compromising practices of undergraduate college students: Examining racial/ethnic and gender differences in characteristics of prescription stimulant misuse, Addictive Behaviors, 68, 59-65.)

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