20% of College Students Abuse Stimulant Drugs


According to HealthDay News, almost 1 in 5 college students abuse stimulant drugs. In the new survey sponsored by the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, research shows that medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are being abused by almost 20 percent of college students and nearly 14 percent of young adults ages 18-25 who aren’t in college. The survey included more than 1,600 young adults who participated by answering 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.

“The findings shed a new and surprising light on the young adult who is abusing prescription stimulants,” said Sean Clarkin, Director of Strategy and Program Management for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “While there is some ‘recreational’ abuse, the typical misuser is a male college student whose grade point average is only slightly lower than that of non-abusers, but who is juggling a very busy schedule that includes academics, work and an active social life.”

“Students need help in learning how to manage their busy lifestyles effectively,” Dr. Josh Hersh, Staff Psychiatrist at Miami University, said in a news release. “Learning time management strategies such as ‘block scheduling’ and ‘syllabus tracking’ can help prevent ‘cramming’ – the main reason people look to stimulants at whatever the price. In addition, teaching students with ADHD who are prescribed stimulants about how to properly care for their medication will help address misuse and prevent these drugs from getting into the hands of students who might abuse the meds.”

Hersh explained stimulant drug abuse can be dangerous for students. “The fact that students often use these drugs around deadlines, when their natural adrenaline is already high, elevates the risk even more,” he said. “Sporadic use can lead to severe sleep deprivation and cause stimulant-induced psychosis, when a student gets paranoid and may hallucinate.”

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