ADHD Drug Abuse Widespread Among US College Students

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The misuse of the drug used in treating ADHD is prevalent amongst college students in the US, according to a report by the University of South Carolina.

“Misuse of stimulant medication among college students is a significant concern as more students with ADHD are attending college and prescriptions for stimulant medications are on the rise.” the report stated.

Kari Benson, co- researcher who initiated the analysis, worked on a project involving social impairment and children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She soon realized that there was a widespread issue with the misuse of the drug after many students, without the disorder, approached her and ask if she could get them ADHD medications, according to Medscape.

The drug is a stimulant which increases concentration and has a calming effect on someone with the condition, but no such effects have been found in someone who does not have the disorder.

“People would ask me if I could get them Adderall or Ritalin. I realised that this was a pretty prevalent issue on campus, and I wanted to see what I could do about it” said Benson.

Adderall or Ritalin “are Schedule II controlled substances, placing them in the same legal bracket as substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine.” says Medical News Today.

The study found that male students belonging to a fraternity or sorority and are abusing other substances are more likely to be misusing ADHD drugs, revealed the study published in the Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

The study also found that 17% of college student’s misused ADHD stimulant drugs, mainly to improve their academic performance.

The belief that ADHD drugs improve academic learning is in fact a myth; research shows that stimulant drug misuse may actually lead to poor academic performance.

The report also found that the medication was also being used for the purpose of getting high, for weight loss and to enable them to drink more- all of which can have serious medical consequences.

“It makes it possible to drink beyond the normal limit. So instead of passing out drunk, you might end up in the hospital having to get your stomach pumped.” said Benson.

Like with all drug misuse comes serious health complications. The potential for overdose and cardiac problems are increased in those with pre-existing conditions.

It is “important for physicians who provide college students with prescriptions for stimulant medications to discuss the possible consequences of misusing or diverting medication, including potential negative health outcomes and legal consequences.” researchers warn.

Source: Inquisitr