Nonmedical prescription stimulant use among youth in the emergency department: prevalence, severity and correlates

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2015 Jan;48(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.05.003. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


This study examined the prevalence, severity and correlates of nonmedical prescription stimulant use (NPSU) among youth in the emergency department (ED). Participants 14-20 years old presenting to the ED completed a survey. A multinomial logistic regression was used to compare those without NPSU, with mild NPSU and with moderate/severe NPSU on demographics, risk factors and ED utilization. There were 4389 participants; 8.3% reported past-year NPSU and 44% of those with past 3-month NPSU reported at least monthly use. After controlling for demographics, participants with mild NPSU or moderate/severe NPSU had higher odds of all substance use risk factors compared to those with no NPSU. Also, those with moderate/severe NPSU were more likely to report dating violence and nonmedical use of opioids or sedatives and less likely to use marijuana compared to those with mild NPSU. Healthcare setting screening and intervention efforts should consider NPSU concomitant with other substance use and explore the association of dating violence with NPSU.

Keywords: Emergency medicine; Nonmedical prescription stimulant use; Substance abuse; Violence; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants