School prevalence of stimulant therapy for ADHD associated with higher rates of prescription stimulant misuse among teens
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NIH on 4/18/2023
Researchers have identified a strong association between prevalence of prescription stimulant therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and rates of prescription stimulant misuse (taken in a way other than as directed by a clinician) by students in middle and high schools. The study, which appeared today in JAMA Network Open, highlights the need for assessments and education in schools and communities to prevent medication-sharing among teens. This is especially important considering non-medical use of prescription stimulants among teens remains more prevalent
than misuse of any other prescription drug, including opioids and benzodiazepines.
Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the study used data collected between 2005 and 2020 by the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. MTF is a large, multicohort survey of legal and illicit drug use among American adolescents in eighth, 10th, and 12th grade, also funded by NIDA.
“The drug supply has rapidly changed, and what looks like medications – bought online or shared among friends or family members – can contain fentanyl or other potent illicit substances that can result in overdoses. It’s important to raise awareness of these new risks for teens,” said NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D. “It’s also essential to provide the necessary resources and education to prevent misuse and support teens during this critical period in their lives when they encounter unique experiences and new stressors.”