Epidemiology of stimulant misuse and abuse: implications for future epidemiologic and neuropharmacologic research

Neuropharmacology. 2014 Dec;87:91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.04.020. Epub 2014 May 9.


Stimulants are a diverse array of drugs that range from everyday caffeine to prescription medications and illicitly manufactured street drugs. The surveillance of misuse and abuse of stimulants many times confounds prescription and illicit street drugs such that the data are not specific enough to guide mitigation efforts or assess their impact. This review highlights the surveillance efforts that are conducted in the United States (US) for stimulant misuse and abuse. These surveillance efforts include national level surveys as well as reporting systems such as Poison Centers and emergency departments. This epidemiologic analysis has implications for interpreting the current known neuropharmacology of stimulants and possibly informing future neuropharmacology research that may contribute to a better understanding of potential neuropharmacologic factors influencing differing patterns of use, abuse, and adverse consequences associated with various stimulants. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'CNS Stimulants'.

Keywords: Abuse; Illicit stimulants; Misuse; Stimulant surveillance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants