Illicit Methylphenidate Use in an Undergraduate Student Sample: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Christian J. Teter, Pharm.D., Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., Carol J. Boyd, Ph.D., Sally K. Guthrie, Pharm.D.


Pharmacotherapy. 2003;23(5) 

In This Article

Implications for Future Research

Future research is needed to further clarify the relationships between ADHD, treatment with psychostimulants, and the risk for substance use in different populations (e.g., age, gender, race, socioeconomic status). Another important question is whether exposure to abusable psychoactive prescription drugs, such as psychostimulants, leads to a higher prevalence of other illicit substance use. Qualitative research should be used to examine the reasons for illicit methylphenidate use across different populations. Examples of reasons that should be explored are weight loss, euphoria, prolonging study time, and prolonging the effects of intoxicating agents such as alcohol. Furthermore, studies assessing the route of administration, particularly the intranasal route, should be conducted, as should be studies to determine whether certain dosage forms (e.g., long-acting preparations and osmotic delivery systems) have less abuse potential than other dosage forms. Longitudinal studies could determine patterns of illicit methylphenidate use in different populations. Such studies might help clarify the differences in patterns of abuse between methylphenidate and other illicit psychostimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines. Longitudinal studies are also needed to examine how various patterns of illicit methylphenidate use during adolescence are related to long-term morbidity and mortality.


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