Correlates of nonmedical use of stimulants and methamphetamine use in a national sample

Lian Yu Chen, Eric C. Strain, Pierre Kébreau Alexandre, G. Caleb Alexander, Ramin Mojtabai, Silvia S. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite chemical similarities, ADHD stimulants and methamphetamine have distinct use patterns in the community. This study compared the characteristics of nonmedical ADHD stimulants users and methamphetamine users in a household sample. Methods: In data from the 2009-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adult and adolescent stimulant users were categorized into three mutually exclusive subgroups: nonmedical ADHD stimulant users only (STM users), methamphetamine users (METH users), and both nonmedical ADHD stimulant and methamphetamine users (STM/METH users). Multivariate logistic regression analyses identified the substance comorbidity, mental health, and deviant behavior characteristics associated with these three groups. Results: Compared to adolescent STM users, STM/METH users were more likely to be female, younger and uninsured while METH users were more likely to be younger, in a minority group and from a higher-income family. Compared to adult STM users, METH and STM/METH users were more likely to be male, older, uninsured, no longer married, and to be from rural areas. Adolescent METH users were more likely than STM users to report illegal drug use while adult METH users were less likely to report prescription drug use than their STM user counterparts. Overall, adult and adolescent STM/METH users were more likely to report substance use, mental health problems and deviant behaviors compared to STM users. Conclusion: The characteristics of STM users differ from METH and STM/METH users, and their associations with substance use and psychiatric comorbidities differ by age. Findings have implications for understanding the risks for stimulant use in different age subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-836
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Deviant behaviors
  • Mental health
  • Methamphetamine use
  • Prescription stimulants
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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