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Subst Use Misuse. 2004 Jun;39(7):1095-116.

The use, misuse and diversion of prescription stimulants among middle and high school students.

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Substance Abuse Research Center, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108-1649, USA.


This present study investigated the prevalence and the factors associated with the use, misuse, and diversion of prescribed stimulant medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a sample of middle and high school students. As part of a school-based, self-administered web survey in May 2002, students from a Midwestern public school district in the United States in grades six through eleven (n = 1536) reported on three aspects of prescription stimulants; they reported on their use, misuse, and diversion (e.g. trading, selling, offering) of stimulant medication for ADHD. The total student sample was 57% White, 40% African American, and 3% other racial and ethnic groups. Gender and school level were approximately equally distributed in the student sample, and 81% of students had plans to attend college. The illicit use of stimulant medication was reported by 4.5% of the overall sample. Of the students who reported prescription stimulant use, 23.3% reported being approached to sell, give, or trade their prescription drugs. After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, the odds for illicit use of stimulant medication was lower among African American students and higher among those students with no plans for attending college. When compared with students who did not use stimulants or who did not misuse stimulant medications also reported significantly higher rates of alcohol and other drug use. High schools students had the highest rates of alcohol and other drug use. High schools students had the highest odds for being approached to divert their stimulant medications. Our findings suggest that community-based approaches are needed to reduce the illicit use and diversion of stimulant medications within middle and high school student populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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