Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants in Dental Hygiene Programs: Guidelines for prevention strategies

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1 Scopus citations


Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NPS), drugs frequently prescribed to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is defined as the use of medications without a prescription or in a way that is inconsistent with a medical diagnosis. These pharmaceuticals are frequently prescribed to increase attentiveness, decrease distractibility, and improve daily functioning in individuals diagnosed with ADHD. While medically prescribed stimulants, including amphetamine, methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine, have been shown to be safe and effective for improving the symptoms of ADHD, they have also been classified by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as schedule II, due to their high potential for abuse. With the increased matriculation of college students diagnosed with ADHD, the number of stimulants available on college campuses has risen substantially; and misuse of NPS is becoming a serious issue amongst college-aged students, including those in health care professions. The most commonly reported reasons for NPS use among college students is to improve alertness and concentration while studying and to enhance overall academic achievement. Borrowing, sharing and selling prescription stimulants between peers and friends are the common routes for NPS diversion. Academic performance expectations in dental hygiene education programs can create a highly stressful environment increasing the susceptibility of dental hygiene students to NPS misuse. Dental hygiene education programs should promote an awareness of the ethical, legal and overall health harms of nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • ADHD
  • college students
  • dental hygiene students
  • health risks
  • nonprescription stimulant use
  • stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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