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Can J Psychiatry. 2005 Jul;50(8):457-61.

Characteristics of methylphenidate misuse in a university student sample.

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Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.



Methylphenidate (MPH) is a prescription stimulant drug with known abuse potential; however, little is known about its patterns of misuse or the characteristics of its abusers.


A sample of 50 university students reporting MPH misuse and 50 control subjects matched for age, sex, and ethnicity completed structured face-to-face interviews about their MPH and other drug use. For each substance ever used, they provided information regarding routes of administration and other substances ever coadministered, as well as details about the most recent administration. MPH users provided additional information about their reasons for use and, in 36 cases, about how they obtained the drug.


Relative to control subjects, those who misused MPH were more likely to have used various other prescription and nonprescription stimulant drugs over their lifetime, and most MPH users reported mixing the drug with other psychoactive substances. Of the MPH sample, 70% reported recreational use of the drug, while 30% reported that MPH was used exclusively for study purposes. Relative to those using it exclusively for study, recreational users were more likely to report using MPH intranasally, as well as coadministering MPH with other substances. Most of those who reported their source of MPH obtained it from an acquaintance with a prescription.


Those who misuse MPH are more likely than their peers to misuse various other substances, and MPH misuse frequently occurs in the context of simultaneous polydrug use. Because the primary supply of inappropriately used MPH appears to be prescribed users, efforts should be directed toward preventing its diversion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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