Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants and Analgesics: Associations with Social and Academic Behaviors among College Students

Journal of drug issues (Impact Factor: 0.38). 12/2008; 38(4):1045-1060. DOI: 10.1177/002204260803800406
Source: PubMed


Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and analgesics was assessed from personal interviews with a stratified random sample of 1,253 first-year college students ages 17 to 20 attending a large public university (86% response rate). Lifetime and past-year prevalence of nonmedical use of stimulants, analgesics, or both was 19.6%wt and 15.6%wt, respectively. Nonmedical users had significantly lower grade point averages (GPAs) in high school as compared with nonusers; in college they skipped classes more often, spent more time socializing, and spent less time studying. For example, nonmedical users of both stimulants and analgesics skipped 21 % of their college classes whereas nonusers skipped 9%. Controlling for high school GPA and other factors, past-year nonmedical use independently predicted lower college GPA by the end of the first year of college; this effect was partially mediated by skipping more classes. Nonmedical users of prescription drugs comprise a high-risk group for academic problems in college.

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Available from: Kathryn B Vincent, Jul 20, 2015
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    • "One study included prescription users in the sample, but automatically classified them as nonmisusers for data analysis (Graff Low and Gendaszek 2002). Other studies analyzed nonprescription misusers and prescription misusers separately (Hall et al. 2005; Judson and Langdon 2009), while others analyzed all misusers as one group (Van Eck et al. 2012; Arria et al. 2008b). Some of these strategies may result in underestimation of rates of stimulant medication misuse. "
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    ABSTRACT: The misuse of stimulant medication among college students is a prevalent and growing problem. The purpose of this review and meta-analysis is to summarize the current research on rates and demographic and psychosocial correlates of stimulant medication misuse among college students, to provide methodological guidance and other ideas for future research, and to provide some preliminary suggestions for preventing and reducing misuse on college campuses. Random-effects meta-analysis found that the rate of stimulant medication misuse among college students was estimated at 17 % (95 % CI [0.13, 0.23], p < .001) and identified several psychological variables that differentiated misusers and nonusers, including symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, problems associated with alcohol use, and marijuana use. A qualitative review of the literature also revealed that Greek organization membership, academic performance, and other substance use were associated with misuse. Students are misusing primarily for academic reasons, and the most common source for obtaining stimulant medication is peers with prescriptions. Interpretation of findings is complicated by the lack of a standard misuse definition as well as validated tools for measuring stimulant misuse. The relation between stimulant medication misuse and extra curricular participation, academic outcomes, depression, and eating disorders requires further investigation, as do the reasons why students divert or misuse and whether policies on college campuses contribute to the high rates of misuse among students. Future research should also work to develop and implement effective prevention strategies for reducing the diversion and misuse of stimulant medication on college campuses.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review
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    • "pharmaceuticals approved for therapeutic purposes as a means to enhance the mental capacities of 'normal' individuals, i.e. those who are not ill (Kramer, 1992; Parens, 1998; Quintero and Nichter, 2011). While a wide range of prescription medications are consumed for unapproved, non-therapeutic purposes, the use of stimulant medications by individualsdparticularly researchers and university studentsdseeking to boost their abilities to concentrate and focus on academic work has become one of the main areas of focus within discussions of enhancement (Arria, 2008; Elnicki, 2013; Maher, 2008). This phenomenon raises a number of ethical and policymaking questions that have received attention from bioethicists, such as whether pharmaceutical enhancement constitutes a form of cheating and whether individuals who do not use pharmaceutical enhancers might experience coercion (S. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article investigates everyday experiences and practises that are associated with processes of pharmaceuticalization and with practices of ‘drug diversion’—that is, the illicit exchange and non-medical use of prescription drugs. It reports results from a qualitative study that was designed to examine the everyday dimensions of non-medical prescription stimulant use among students on an American university campus, which involved 38 semi-structured interviews with individuals who used prescription stimulants as a means of improving academic performance. While discussions of drug diversion are often framed in terms of broad, population-level patterns and demographic trends, the present analysis provides a complementary sociocultural perspective that is attuned to the local and everyday phenomena. Results are reported in relation to the acquisition of supplies of medications intended for nonmedical use. An analysis is provided which identifies four different sources of diverted medications (friends; family members; black-market vendors; deceived clinicians), and describes particular sets of understandings, practices and experiences that arise in relation to each different source. Findings suggest that at the level of everyday experience and practice, the phenomenon of prescription stimulant diversion is characterised by a significant degree of complexity and heterogeneity.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Social Science & Medicine
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    • "Recently, closer attention has been paid to the heightened prevalence of non-medical ATS use among college students, who use ATS primarily to enhance academic performance (Teter et al., 2005). Several studies indicate that college students who use ATS without a prescription have lower grades on average, skip more classes, and spend more time socializing relative to their stimulant naïve peers (Arria, 2008; McCabe et al., 2005; Reske et al., 2010). Also, occasional ATS use in college students has been associated with below normal cognitive ability, including deficits in verbal learning and memory (Reske et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Although the interaction of brain volume with amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and cocaine has been investigated in chronically dependent individuals, little is known about structural differences that might exist in individuals who consume ATS and cocaine occasionally but are not dependent on these drugs. Methods: Regional brain volumes in 165 college aged occasional users of ATS (namely: amphetamine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; MDMA) and cocaine were compared by voxel-based morphometry with 48 ATS/cocaine-naive controls. Results: Grey matter volume was significantly higher in the left ventral anterior putamen of occasional users, and lower in the right dorsolateral cerebellum and right inferior parietal cortex. A regression in users alone on lifetime consumption of combined ATS (namely: amphetamine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate and MDMA) and cocaine use revealed that individuals who used more ATS/cocaine had greater volume in the right ventromedial frontal cortex. A second regression on lifetime consumption of ATS with cocaine as a covariate revealed that individuals with a greater history of ATS use alone had more grey matter volume in the left mid-insula. Interestingly, structural changes in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, insula and striatum have been consistently observed in volumetric studies of chronic ATS and cocaine dependence. Conclusion: The present results suggest that these three brain regions may play a role in stimulant use even in early occasional users.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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