According to popular belief, prescription stimulant abuse usually begins during a person’s college years. But a new published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence
shows that the practice may actually begin in high school.
Researchers led by Elizabeth Austic, PhD, at the University of Michigan Injury Center analyzed survey data from over 240,000 teens and young adults. The findings showed that the peak age for abusing prescription stimulants was between 16 and 19 years of age, with some cases occurring as early as middle school. Additionally, those aged 20 to 21 had the same rate of starting to use stimulants as those who were 13 and 14 years old.
According to the study’s results, the rate of abuse was twice as high among women as it was among men. While both sexes referred to improved academic performance and the feelings of “getting high” as their motivation for abuse, women seemed to favor prescription diet pills while men were drawn more to prescription attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs such as Adderall. Caucasian and Native American teens were more likely to misuse of stimulants than other racial and ethnic groups.