Diversion of prescription stimulant drugs among 1018-year-olds

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Purpose of review

Public health concern regarding the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants among youth has generated the need for increased understanding of diversion, which is the illegal sharing and selling of prescription drugs. Although our understanding of nonmedical use of stimulants has increased, the same cannot be said of diversion behavior among youth.

Recent findings

The aim of this article is to use data from the National Monitoring of Adolescent Prescription Stimulants Study, which assessed prescription stimulant use among 10–18 years old across 10 US cities to report on prescription stimulant diversion among those who misused those medications. Findings indicate that more than one half (52%) of youth had engaged in one of the three forms of diversion (incoming only, outgoing only and both incoming and outgoing diversion). Engaging in incoming diversion only and both incoming and outgoing diversion increased with age and nonmedical use of prescription stimulants. All forms of diversion increased with marijuana use and among 16–18 years old with a friend's use of prescription stimulant.


Findings provide an understanding of the subtypes of diversion and risk correlates of youth prescription stimulant diverter's that has value in preventing prescription stimulant diversion.

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