Controlling College Students' ADHD Symptoms May Protect Them Against Substance Abuse

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In a survey of 334 students at a college in the Southeast, those who reported having experienced symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the past 6 months were three times as likely as those whose symptoms were controlled to say they had intensified their smoking, and six times as likely to report increased frequency of abuse of other drugs (besides alcohol and marijuana) during the past year. Of the 76 respondents who said they had been prescribed ADHD medications at some point during their lives, one-quarter said they had abused their medication to get high, and 29 percent said they had given or sold it to someone else. Dr. Himanshu Upadhyaya and colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina conducted the study. Appropriate treatment of ADHD may reduce college students' risk of drug abuse.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 15(5):799-809, 2005. [Abstract]