Misuse of Prescription Stimulants in Young Adults

In this video, Timothy Wilens, MD, chief of Mass General’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and co-director of the Center for Addiction Medicine, discusses his research into the misuse and diversion of prescription stimulant medications in young people. He notes patterns and prevalence of stimulant misuse and discusses why this is a matter of concern—10-15% of young people who are prescribed stimulant medication are diverting or misusing these medications and recent data has shown that stimulant use at a young age is predictive of substance use disorders later in life.

Much of the recent focus of the research that myself in our laboratory has been involved in is looking at the appropriate use of stimulant medications and in particular looking at misuse and diversion of stimulant medications in typically young people that would include adolescents and young adults some of the findings that we have that make it important understand

Stimulant misuse it’s number one the vast majority of people and whom they’re prescribed those are people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder use their medicines appropriately and they use it as directed however there’s a small percentage probably 10 to 15 percent that are either selling or giving away their medicine which is called diversion or

They’re misusing them themselves we also are very concerned about people who are misusing these medicines often referred to as non-medical use who are in the general population often college-age kids and not only college age kids kids in college and by the way that misuse prevalence goes up based on the competitiveness of the school so the more competitive the

School the more misuse or non-medical use of stimulant medications in the general college population how often does it occur anywhere from 5 to 20 percent so in some colleges almost a quarter of the kids have used stimulants in a non-medical way so why do we care what do we care if a college student uses a stimulant medicine once or twice these are safe medicines

And probably it’s not a big issue if they use it once or twice but the problem is they don’t use it once or twice data from our group and others are showing that 10 to 15 percent of college students actually have a stimulant used to serve actually get hooked on the stimulant and 40 to 50 percent of kids who use stimulants are using them pretty frequently another

Really scary statistic if you look at the immediate acting stimulants those are the short acting stimulants in those who misuse them 40% for 0% are snorting them they’re grinding them and they’re sniffing them insufflation it’s called that’s problematic we also know that many don’t even know what the using and they use what we call super therapeutic doses they

Don’t use ten or twenty milligrams of adderall is prescribed they use sixty or a hundred milligrams because they don’t know the dose we think that all college-age students should be screened to see are you misusing stimulants or by the way any other prescription medicine we think it’s important because if you hear yes our data shows that fifty percent of them

Have the substance use problem that is they are drinking too much using marijuana too much or they’ve got problems they’ve got other issues fifty percent or half that’s a real marker we also know that twenty five percent of that group have adhd or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and an almost equal amount have what we call executive function problems the

Secretary the brain is not working right they have neuropsychological impairment some recent data that was published again collaboratively between massachusetts general hospital in the university of michigan is if you look fifteen years later at people who misuse stimulants even once it predicts in young adulthood that these individuals will have a substance use

Disorder and will be functioning occupationally significantly worse than those individuals who have adhd who are treated and using their medicines appropriately

Transcribed from video
Misuse of Prescription Stimulants in Young Adults By MassGeneralHospital