An estimated 17 percent of college students misuse drugs designed to treat attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new analysis of previous studies. Past studies have
differed widely in their estimate of how many college students misuse ADHD drugs, ranging from 2
percent to 43 percent, MedicalXpress
The researchers of the new review looked at 30 past studies, and calculated that overall, one in
six college students misuse ADHD drugs. Misuse can mean taking more of the drug than has been
prescribed, or using the medication without a prescription, the article notes. Researcher Kate
Flory of the University of South Carolina said many college students who misuse the drugs do so in
an attempt to improve their academic performance. The new review suggests stimulant misuse is
associated with poorer academic performance, she said.
Risk factors for students who abuse the drugs include having symptoms of ADHD, problems associated
with alcohol use, and marijuana use, the review found. Greek organization membership was also
associated with misuse. The most common source of ADHD drugs was friends with prescriptions, the
review found. The findings appear in Clinical
Child and Family Psychology Review.
A survey released
last November found almost
one-fifth of college students say they abuse prescription stimulants. The most commonly abused
stimulants are medications used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse. One in seven
young adults ages 18 to 25 who aren’t in
college also said they abuse stimulant medications. The survey, sponsored by the Partnership for
Drug-Free Kids, included more than 1,600 young adults who answered questions online. The
researchers found young adults say they use prescription stimulants to help them stay awake, study
or improve their performance at work or school.