Characteristics and motives of college students who engage in nonmedical use of methylphenidate

Am J Addict. 2008 May-Jun;17(3):167-71. doi: 10.1080/10550490802019642.


Methylphenidate (MPH) has a long history of being an effective medication for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recently, the nonmedical use of MPH has increased, particularly among college students. To investigate this, we surveyed 2,087 students regarding MPH misuse. Of 2,087 respondents, 110 (5.3%) used MPH nonmedically at least once. Most obtained MPH free from a friend, acquaintance, or family member. Misuse of Ritalin(R) occurred four times more frequently than Concerta. Among Ritalin abusers, Intranasal use was reported more often than oral. Students reported using MPH nonmedically for recreational reasons as well as to improve academic performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate*
  • Motivation*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate