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Illicit use of psychostimulants among college students: a preliminary study

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There is little recent research on the illicit use of prescription stimulants such as methylphenidate on college campuses. Given the increasing number of amphetamine prescriptions for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in older adolescents, non-medical use seems likely to occur. The present study surveyed undergraduates at a small college in the USA on their use of both legal and illegal stimulants; 35.5% of undergraduates who were convenience-sampled had used prescription amphetamines illicitly (defined as use without a prescription), with men reporting more use than women. Motivations were primarily academic, but 19.3% of students reported using prescription stimulants in combination with alcohol for recreational reasons. In addition, 34% of the sample reported using either cocaine or MDMA in the previous year. Motivations for use of illegal stimulants were primarily recreational. Sensation seeking appears to be a correlate of both types of stimulant use; for abuse of prescription drugs, being both high in sensation seeking and more perfectionistic is associated with greater use. Abuse of prescription and illegal stimulants appears to be widespread in this college sample.
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Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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