Prescription Stimulant Nonmedical Use Among Adolescents Evaluated for Substance Use Disorder Treatment (CHAT™)

Suzanne K. Vosburg, Stephen V. Faraone, Jeffrey H. Newcorn, Anthony L. Rostain, Robert L. Findling, Stephen F. Butler, Taryn Dailey Govoni, Jody L. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of the present study was to characterize prescription stimulant non-medical use (NMU) in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 years seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) with the Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool for Teens (CHAT™). Method: Adolescents being evaluated for SUD treatment between Q1 2010 and Q3 2017 (n = 20,189) completed the CHAT™. Results: About 4.3% of the sample (N = 867) of adolescents in SUD treatment reported past 30-day prescription stimulant NMU. Compared to those without past 30-day prescription stimulant NMU, more reported a lifetime diagnosis of learning disorder or ADHD, more took medication for emotional, behavioral, or learning disorders, received past-month inpatient treatment, or were currently not enrolled in school. Prescription stimulants were most often taken orally for NMU, however, approximately half reported using alternate routes of administration, the most prominent of which was intranasal use. Conclusion: About 4.3% of adolescents in SUD treatment evaluation reported past 30-day prescription stimulant NMU. Greater percentages of lifetime learning disorder, medication use, past-month inpatient treatment, school unenrollment, and overall substance misuse were associated with prescription stimulant NMU, as were alternate routes of administration. These data reveal an ongoing, persistent level of past-30-day NMU of prescription stimulants among adolescents being evaluated for SUD treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1859-1870
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • adolescents
  • nonmedical use of prescription stimulants
  • prescription stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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