Licit and illicit use of medications for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in undergraduate college students

J Am Coll Health. 2008 May-Jun;56(6):601-6. doi: 10.3200/JACH.56.6.601-606.


Objective: The authors studied the relationship between a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), grade point average (GPA), and licit and illicit drug use.

Participants and methods: They obtained survey data from a convenience sample of undergraduates in a large southern public university.

Results: Among 1,550 respondents, 163 (10.5%) reported an ADHD diagnosis (ADHD Group). Of those without an ADHD diagnosis, 591 (43%) reported using prescription stimulants illicitly (No ADHD, Illicit Use group), and 794 (57%) reported not using prescription drugs illicitly (No ADHD, No Illicit Use group). The GPA of the ADHD group was significantly lower than the GPA of the other 2 groups. The ADHD group and the No ADHD, Illicit Use group reported significantly greater use of all other drugs than did the No ADHD, No Illicit Use group.

Conclusions: Drug use was associated with a lower GPA in ADHD-diagnosed students than in students without ADHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Students*
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants