Survey analyzes ADHD prescription stimulant misuse



As college students prepare to kick off the 2015-16 school year, campuses nationwide face a pressing issue: the illegal misuse, abuse and diversion of ADHD prescription stimulants among students, according to the Coalition to Prevent ADHD Medication Misuse.

A recent survey by the Harris Poll, conducted on behalf of the CPAMM, found 75 percent of students believe at least some of their peers have used ADHD prescription stimulants not prescribed to them.

As a leader on the issue, CPAMM developed a College Media Toolkit with helpful resources to raise awareness about misuse.

The tool kit contained a survey studying the prescription stimulant misuse, abuse and diversion. A survey was administered online within the United States between May 15 and June 11, 2014, among 2,056 U.S. college students.

Of those, 91 percent were full-time students, and 9 percent were part-time. They were defined as adults ages 18 to 24, enrolled and seeking a degree at a four-year college or university and attending some in-person classes.

Among that group, 164 were diagnosed with ADHD. Data was weighted where necessary by age within gender, race/ethnicity, region and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

For the purpose of the survey, misuse refers to any time the medicine is used in a different way from the doctor’s instructions and could include people who do not have a prescription for the medication but obtain it and use it and people who have a prescription but do not use it as directed by their health care provider.

Rates of misuse vary. Seventy-five percent of students interviewed believe some of their peers have used ADHD prescription stimulants not prescribed to them.

Forty percent of members of Greek organizations and 36 percent of athletes, including those from varsity, junior varsity, intramural and club teams, say they are somewhat likely to use ADHD prescription stimulants in a way that differs from a doctor’s instructions, according to the survey.

In comparison, 23 percent non-Greeks and 21 percent of non-athletes give the same answer.

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