Adolescents Underreport Nonmedical Amphetamine Use

HealthDay News — Adolescents appear to underreport their nonmedical amphetamine use, which may be in part due to lacking awareness that Adderall is an amphetamine, according to a study published online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, from New York University Langone Medical Center, and Austin Le, from New York University College of Dentistry, examined self-reported nonmedical Adderall and amphetamine use in a nationally representative sample of 24,740 high school seniors participating in the Monitoring the Future study (2010-2015). They analyzed prevalence and correlates of discordant responses among past-year Adderall users, defined as reporting past-year nonmedical Adderall use but not past-year nonmedical amphetamine use.

The researchers found that while 6.9% of respondents reported nonmedical Adderall use and 7.9% reported nonmedical amphetamine use, 28.7% of Adderall users reported no amphetamine use. Those more likely to report no amphetamine use despite reporting Adderall use included older students (aged ≥18), black students, and those with parents of lower educational attainment. Only nonmedical opioid use was associated with significant decreased odds of providing a discordant response, while disapproval of amphetamine use increased odds of providing a discordant response.

“Our findings suggest that many young people are unaware that Adderall is an amphetamine. In addition, such conflicting reports mean that prescription stimulant misuse may be underestimated,” Palamar said in a statement.

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Palamar JJ, Shearston JA, Cleland CM. Discordant reporting of nonmedical amphetamine use among Adderall-using high school seniors in the US. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2017;42(5):530-538.