Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants among College Students: An Updated Report
Barbara Prudhomme White, Ph.D., OTR/L; Kathleen Grace-Bishop, MHSA, CHES; Lana Ciali, BA, MSOT

Research suggests that non-medical use of prescription stimulants (NPS), or medication misuse, among college students continues to be a serious issue (Arria & DuPont, 2010; Garnier-Dykstra, Caldeira, Vincent, O'Grady, & Arria, 2012; Looby, De Young, & Earleywine, 2013; McCabe, West, Teter, & Boyd, 2014; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009; 2013). Prescription stimulant medication, primarily methylphenidate found in Ritalin and Adderall, has been used for some time on college campuses, but continued misuse and apparent rises in misuse seem especially linked to an increase in prescriptions for ADHD, resulting in more students having the drug available (Hall, Irwin, Bowman, Frankenberger, & Jewett, 2005; McCabe et al., 2014). For example, the 2011 the University of Michigan’s national “Monitoring the Future” study found prevalence for Adderall prescriptions to be 9.8% among college students across the country (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2012) in comparison to non-college respondents of similar age (6.7%). One study noted that the prevalence of ever engaging in illicit use of prescription stimulants during college was 25.6%, (Bavarian, Flay, Ketcham, & Smit, 2013) while others described estimates of NPS between 13.5-19% at various colleges/universities in the US (Arria et al., 2008; Teter, McCabe, Cranford, Boyd, & Guthrie, 2005; White, Becker-Blease, & Grace-Bishop, 2006), with lifetime NPS estimated somewhere between 5-35% (Wilens et al., 2008). Supporting evidence for prescription stimulant demand from all sources, including through legitimate prescription and use as well as through diversion, can be seen in data from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which found that production of methylphenidate (Ritalin) in the US increased almost 361% from 2002 to 2013

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v4n1a3