University of New Hampshire
Health Management and Policy
Mentor: Dr. Barbara White, Department of Occupational Therapy
The Use Of Stimulant Medication And Opioid Medication By College Students
Attention deficit disorder, a common disorder diagnosed among young individuals, is often treated with prescription stimulants including methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and amphetamine (Adderall). Concern has been discussed in both academic and health-related publications, as well by the media for some time regarding the misuse of these medications by those who are either diagnosed with ADHD or not, regardless if they hold a prescription (NIDA, 2014). Research has also focused on the high rates of prescription stimulant misuse occurring on college campuses (Drazdowski, 2016). Recent research suggests misuse of stimulant medications continues to be a concern (Drazdowski, 2016). Additionally, the misuse of prescription opioid medication has also raised concern on college campuses. The misuse of prescription drugs, including opioid drugs has significantly increased over the years that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has considered it to be an epidemic (CDC, 2012; ONDCP, 2012). Within the state of New Hampshire, ninety-one percent (91%) of overdose deaths are opioid-related. For instance, nearly one person dies from an opioid drug overdose every day in New Hampshire. At the center of this crisis are young individuals (ages 18-25) who are most affected (New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, 2015). It is critical to investigate both stimulant and opioid medications misuse trends in order to better understand current use patterns, accessibility pathways, and to better prepare intervention approaches. In this study, we will examine the misuse of prescription stimulants and opioid medications among college students. To do this, we will be conducting a web-based survey amongst students currently attending the university. This study will provide possible motives, practices and health effects related to prescription stimulant and opioid use on campus. It will provide insight into student’s outlook on using both non prescribed stimulants and opioid medications, and how prevalent their misuse continue to be on campus. Research about drug use on campuses, particularly opioids and stimulants, is evident in educating students about the risks associated with misusing and to implement the need for interventions further.