Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


Illicit use of prescription stimulants has come to the attention of clinicians, school administration, and the judicial system in recent years. Illicit stimulant use is defined as the use of prescription stimulants without a legitimate prescription or using stimulants inconsistent with the prescribed treatment plan, including diversion and inappropriate administration methods. These prescriptions have been known to cause serious side effects when taken incorrectly, yet their popularity as “study buddies” among college students has risen. The most current research has found that the percentage of undergraduate students abusing stimulants ranges from 8-43%, with an average of 17% of students abusing stimulants yearly. This literature review takes a comprehensive approach to the issue of stimulant abuse, attempting to give a glimpse into the seriousness of this issue. It examines the history and chemical make-up of stimulants, as well as the prevalence, motives, risk factors, and consequences of stimulant abuse in undergraduate college students. Finally, this paper proposes a three-pronged approach to decreasing stimulant abuse, led by colleges, medical professionals, and parents.

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