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About one in four youths prescribed stimulants also misuse the drugs.


SAN ANTONIO -- Of 196 U.S. youth who reported use of at least one prescribed stimulant in their lifetimes, 25% also said they used the drugs nonmedically, based on a survey of children and adolescents aged 10-17 years.

Another 5% of the youth surveyed reported exclusively nonmedical use of stimulants. The survey participants lived in six U.S. cities and their outlying areas.

"Parents of both users and nonusers should warn their children of the dangers of using others' stimulants and giving their own stimulants to others," concluded Linda B. Cottier, PhD, MPH, of the University of Florida, and colleagues.

"Physicians and pharmacists should make users and their families aware of the need to take medications as prescribed and not to share medications with others," they wrote in their research poster at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. "Continuous monitoring of these medications in the community should be a priority."

Though prevalence research has shown increasing stimulant misuse among youth, few data exist for younger children, the researchers noted. They therefore conducted a survey of 1,777 youth aged 10-17 years from September to October 2018 in six cities in California, Florida, and Texas, the most populous U.S. states.

The participants included youth from urban, rural, and suburban areas of Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Trained graduate students and professional raters approached the respondents in entertainment venues and obtained assent but did not require parental consent. The respondents received $30 for completing the survey.

A total of 11.1% of respondents reporting having used prescription stimulants in their lifetime, and 7.6% had done so in the past 30 days. Just under a third of those who used stimulants (30.1%) did so for nonmedical purposes, defined as taking the stimulant nonorally (except for the patch Daytrana), getting the stimulant from someone else, oi taking more of the drug than prescribed.

A quarter of the respondents who used stimulants reported both medical use and nonmedical use. And 5.1% of these youths reported only using stimulants nonmedically.

Among those with any lifetime stimulant use, 13.8% reported nonoral administration, including 9.7% who snorted or sniffed the drugs, 4.1% who smoked them, and 1.0% who injected them. Just over half (51.8%) of those reporting nonoral use had also used prescription stimulants orally.

The likelihood of using stimulants nonmedically increased with age (P less than .0001). The researchers found no significant associations between nonmedical use and geography or race / ethnicity. Among 10- to 12-year-olds, 3.1% reported only medical use of stimulants, and 0.7% (2 of 286 respondents in this age group) reported any nonmedical use of stimulants.

Of those aged 13-15 years, 2.1% reported any nonmedical stimulant use.

Nonmedical stimulant use was reported by twice as many boys (67.8%) as girls (32.2%), though this finding may not be surprising as the majority of nonmedical users were also medical users and stimulants are prescribed more frequently to boys than to girls (P less than .0006).

The research was funded by Arbor Pharmaceuticals. The authors noted no conflicts of interest.

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Author:Haelle, Tara
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Dec 1, 2019
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