ADHD drug abuse on the rise among college students

Dive Brief:

  • College student abuse of drugs commonly used to treat ADHD and similar disorders is on the rise a 6% increase between 1996-2006 — as students look for new and more accessible stimulants to aid in longer study sessions.
  • Abuse of these drugs increases the likelihood of cocaine and alcohol abuse and poses greater long-term brain development threats in college students.
  • Aggression, mood swings, abnormal sex drive and suicidal thoughts are common side effects of prolonged and intense abuse of drugs like Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta. 

Dive Insight:

This research gives a stark picture of a new form of drug abuse campus administrators must be concerned about. Risk factors with use of these drugs can have equal, or more dramatic, impact with potential incidents like sexual assault and suicidal ideation all incidents which can rock a campus to its core. 

ADHD and "study drug" abuse should be a top priority for student awareness campaigns, counseling center expertise and public safety officials. Teaching students how to recognize the signs of abuse of these drugs, and helping students to understand the social and professional impact, must be to scale with campaigns about hard drug and alcohol abuse.  

Filed Under: Higher Ed
Top image credit: Flickr; Michael Chen