Abstract and Introduction
Study Objectives: To assess the prevalence of illicit methylphenidate use among undergraduate college students at a large university, and to identify alcohol and other drug use behaviors, as well as the negative consequences and risk factors, associated with illicit methylphenidate use.
Design: Internet survey.
Setting: Large public university.
Subjects: Thirty-five hundred randomly selected undergraduate students.
Measurements and Main Results: Of the 2250 students who completed the survey, 3% reported past-year illicit methylphenidate use. Illicit methylphenidate users were significantly more likely to use alcohol and drugs and report adverse alcohol- and drug-related consequences than prescription stimulant users or students who did not use stimulants. Undergraduate men and women were equally likely to report past-year illicit methylphenidate use. Weekly party behavior was significantly associated with past-year illicit methylphenidate use.
Conclusion: Illicit use of prescription-only stimulants on college campuses is a potentially serious public health issue. More work is needed to promote understanding and awareness of this problem among clinicians and researchers.
The misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs among traditional-age undergraduate students remains a major public health problem for American colleges and universities.[1,2,3,4] College students who misuse alcohol and other drugs experience significantly higher rates of negative consequences than students who do not use these substances.[5,6,7,8]
Recent years have brought increasing evidence that college students are abusing not only alcohol but also prescription drugs. Indeed, this abuse appears to coincide with the increasing number of prescriptions that have been written for psychostimulants. Methylphenidate (Ritalin; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp, East Hanover, NJ) and other psychostimulants, such as D-amphetamine, are the preferred pharmacotherapy for treating attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although methylphenidate is highly effective for the treatment of ADHD, it has potential for abuse and diversion. The licit and illicit use of methylphenidate has increased dramatically over the past 10 years,[9,12] but research on patterns and consequences of its use has been limited in the college population. We sought to assess the prevalence of illicit methylphenidate use among undergraduate students at a large public university. Other goals of this study were to identify alcohol and drug use behaviors, as well as the negative consequences and risk factors, associated with illicit methylphenidate use.
Pharmacotherapy. 2003;23(5) © 2003 Pharmacotherapy Publications
Copyright © 1999, Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc., All rights reserved.
Cite this: Illicit Methylphenidate Use in an Undergraduate Student Sample: Prevalence and Risk Factors - Medscape - May 01, 2003.