Adderall® & College Students
SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) recently released a report on Adderall® use among college students. Adderall® is a prescription stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
Nonmedical use of Adderall® is of special interest to policymakers because, as an amphetamine, Adderall® is among the group of legally approved drugs classified as having the highest potential for dependence or abuse.
An estimated 6.4 percent of full-time college students age 18 to 22 used Adderall® nonmedically in the past year. Of concern is that a full 89.5 percent of the college students who used Adderall® nonmedically also reported past-month binge drinking, and more than half were heavy alcohol users.
NSDUH data show that in 2006 and 2007, full-time college students age 18 to 22 were twice as likely as those in the same age group who were not in college full time to have used Adderall® nonmedically in the past year.
Specifically, Nonmedical Use of Adderall® among Full-Time College Students reveals that in 2006 and 2007, 6.4 percent of full-time college students age 18 to 22 showed past-year nonmedical use of Adderall®, as opposed to 3.0 percent of their counterparts who were not in college full time.
Full-time college students who used Adderall® nonmedically were 3 times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year (79.9 percent vs. 27.2 percent) as students who did not misuse Adderall®. They were 8 times more likely to have used prescription tranquilizers nonmedically (24.5 percent vs. 3.0 percent), and 5 times more likely to have used prescription pain relievers without a health professional’s orders or simply for the feeling or experience these drugs cause (44.9 percent vs. 8.7 percent).
Cocaine use was also reported more often in the group of full-time college students using Adderall® nonmedically, with 28.9 percent using cocaine during the past year as opposed to 3.6 percent of their counterparts who did not use Adderall® nonmedically. Cocaine and stimulants taken simultaneously increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
The full NSDUH report, Nonmedical Use of Adderall® among Full-Time College Students, is available online on SAMHSA’s Web site in PDF and HTML formats.