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Prescription Stimulant Use, Misuse, and Motivations

Am J Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Apr 16; Compton, et al

Approximately 16 million US adults used prescription stimulants in the preceding year (annual average), 5 million misused prescription stimulants without use disorders, and 0.4 million had use disorders, according to a recent study. Researchers conducted a nationally representative household population study of adults aged ≥18 years from the 2015 and 2016 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (n=102,000). They found:

  • Among US adults, 6.6% used prescription stimulants overall; 4.5% used without misuse, 1.9% misused without use disorders, and 0.2% had use disorders.
  • The most commonly reported motivations for misuse were to help be alert or concentrate (56.3%).
  • The most likely source of misused prescription stimulants was by obtaining them free from friends or relatives (56.9%).
  • More frequent prescription stimulant misuse and use disorder were associated with an increased likelihood of obtaining medications from physicians or from drug dealers or strangers and less likelihood of obtaining them from friends or relatives.

Citation:

Compton WM, Han B, Blanco C, Johnson K, Jones, CM. Prevalence and correlates of prescription stimulant use, misuse, use disorders, and motivations for misuse among adults in the United States. [Published online ahead of print April 16, 2018]. Am J Psychiatry. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17091048.