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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Stimulants: Research Method

The present description is about the article that highlights the evaluation of study with regard to the Utility of illegal Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Stimulants among college students. The research problem background mentioned in the article is that there were some already existing data that could furnish insights on the prevalence and reasons of substance abuse by the students. But there is insufficient information with regard to the conduct of user’s, their belief, and selection.

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Here, the hypothesis could be that it is irrational that college students at an American public university may use illicit drugs. This led to the investigation and objectives were set to determine how and why the students could use illicit stimulants. Similarly, the factors responsible for the use, motive and accessibility were all considered to address the issues.

Generally, most drugs have satisfactory and beneficial effect on individuals of younger age with ADHD (Findling and Dogin, 1998). Their therapeutic and harmless potential enables them to be given priority for first-line pharmacotherapy (Findling and Dogin, 1998).But these drugs need repeated dosing that would lead to unwanted complications like cardio toxicity (Findling and Dogin, 1998).The drugs may be under the class of antidepressants and alpha2 agonists (Findling and Dogin, 1998).

The researcher justified the scope of the problem by making both quantitative surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews. This could be because it was reported that have become a vulnerable targets as far as stimulant misuse is concerned (Weyandt and Dupaul, 2008).This added to high school students with ADHD has further aggravated the problem. The matter of concern is that many college students with ADHD are facing retardation in their educational outcome and psychological wellbeing (Weyandt and Dupaul, 2008).

Although the remedial approaches were focused on therapy with Psychostimulant drugs, guidance and educational rehabilitations, there were no proper achievements (Weyandt and Dupaul, 2008). This was attributable to pitfalls in the study methodologies added to limited sample size. Hence, intervention programs were suggested that include random samples and, assessment approaches to obtain concrete information on the concerns surrounding the illicit use of drugs by college students with ADHD (Weyandt and Dupaul, 2008). Therefore, the researcher justified the scope of the problem by undertaking a detailed study on 1811 college undergraduates at a large University and conducting 175 in-depth interviews.

From the data is clear that Quantitative surveys and Qualitative interviews have presented insights on the need of students from a spectrum of departments across the college premises. The methodology followed were a 25-item survey that was split into 9+9+5+1 questionnaire format. This has presented sociodmographic information, awareness, belief, and reasons for personal cause. In addition, interviews were conducted by devices like handheld audio tape recorders. Therefore, the contributions that are likely to be presented are significant information that the illicit use of stimulants by the college students can be better studied by the efficient utility of Quantitative surveys and Qualitative interviews.

This could be because it is not known earlier regarding the efficacy of survey programs on large population comprising of college students. Further, the results of data suggest that illicit use of ADHD prescription medications was significantly more common in men, white students, upperclassmen, and Greek members (versus non-Greeks). This has strengthened the one aspect of the study that college students use illicit drugs. Next, it was revealed that the reasons for using drugs are to stay awake to study which was found

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to be 70% ,to concentrate on work 66%, to help memorize 36 %, to stay awake and have fun 22%, and to make work more interesting 12 %. These findings have indicated that the hypothesis was communicated clearly and concisely. The rationale for use of drugs can also be explained by keeping in view of the action of drug. It was reported that the drug’s action on central dopamine systems could influence addiction when taken through intraperitoneal or intravenous routes (Greenhill, 2006). Whereas the drugs taken orally are less addicting.

This may indicate that the delivery system plays important role in addiction followed by illicit use of drugs. In the present article, it is not known whether the college students have chosen which route of drug delivery. On these grounds, the article is failing to provide information and it has not addressed this issue. Since, addiction largely depends on the route of entry, the survey program could have included this aspect as one of the items of questionnaire. The study participants revealed that they have used alcohol, marijuana, prescription barbiturates, and cocaine to get fun and ADHD medications to obtain good grades.

This information has not fully supported the utility of types of ADHD medications. There may be a wide range of ADHD medications available. The study did not make any evaluation on these grounds although only the use of amphetamines to stay awake was described. This is because the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a drug action may be important to probe under circumstances of this kind.

However, the present article has made a detailed analysis of motives with regard to the academic and non academic context.

DuPont et al (2008) described that a drug named Methylphenidate (MPH) has been used by college students not only for recreational purposes but also to ameliorate academic strengths. The use of this drug was revealed to be of nonmedical cause. Similarly, another study has described the reasons why college students use ADHD medication irrespective of Doctors advice. In this study, non medical ADHD use was reported to be linked to attention problems. As such, the motive was the capability to study. This was regardless of side effects that were often described. Hence, it was revealed that college students use ADHD to improve educational performance and correct attention difficulties to succeed in their academic career.

Therefore, the researchers in present article have made an in depth analysis of reasons of using ADHD medication with regard to the academic and nonacademic motives. On these grounds, the article seems substantive and methodologic.

The students in the present article described that they could well concentrate on studies without perturbations of any kind. This has indicated the well beingness experienced by the college students in using ADHD medications. This could further turn students as self doctors in treating themselves for attention problems which is a matter of further debate on legal grounds. The hypothesis seems to be a null hypothesis. This is due to the fact that the observed results are in agreement with the expected ratio. This was revealed from the proportions 39% and 63 % obtained in the survey program.

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The researchers were able to determine the factors, for example the motives, that facilitated the illicit use of stimulants. The interviews that were targeted for a large group of college students has enabled to know the first use of illegal stimulants, like when everyone were found discussing about it.

Similarly, the study described that the interviewed 175 people did not get information from health care professionals, reference guides of medical or pharmaceutical agencies and websites before initiating the medication. This could indicate that present study not only supported a null hypothesis but also addressed a research hypothesis in describing the rationale of using illicit ADHD medication. This is because from the interviews it was revealed that the prevalent use and the reasons for discussion about the stimulants were more rampant among the college students. The study has provided in depth information on the DEA classification of ADHD drugs keeping in view of great chances of abuse and risk of dependence or addiction.

The drugs highlighted were Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin, and which are legally available through prescription. The other class of drugs is cocaine (used as a topical anesthetic), morphine, phencyclidine (PCP), short-acting barbiturates, injectable methamphetamine, and most pure opioid agonists, such as opium and OxyContin. The article has clearly stated that the college students have little knowledge regarding the above mentioned drugs. However, they maintained that the chance of obtaining a drug is very easier. Hence, this may indicate that there is no deception in the study.

There safeguard steps that were taken were tat the college students were all comfort and fit and readily agreed to provide written consent. The quantitative and qualitative method for the current study has full approval from the university’s institutional review board’s human subjects committee. There was no external pressure or influence used in recruiting the participants. They were explained that the study was completely voluntary and would contribute to an educational experience. The study is longitudinal in that it has selected a college campus confined to one area that is College University and did not expand to multi university sample strategy. Hence, collection of data was correct and in agreement with the research question. They were able to get widespread information with regard o the rationale of illicit drug usage among college students. The comparison presented in the study was within the subjects. This is because the subjects were all college students. The data suggested that the most (94%) illicit users were white students compared to African American (3%) and other/multiracial (3%) students. Similarly, the illicit use of ADHD prescription medication was reportedly common in men, white students, upperclassmen, and Greek members.Therefore, the methodology in selecting the target group of students and conducting a qualitative and quantitative interviews is justifiable.

The study is externally valid in emphasizing the disadvantages of nonmedial and illicit use of Psycho stimulant drugs not only by b the college students but by the general younger generation. The limited prescription of drugs by the medical community to a given individual with ADHD is a potentially valid as it could regulate the use of the liberal ADHD medication in the society. The limitations of the study were acknowledged by the researcher in describing that it would not ensure a specificity of sample in a given population. This was revealed when the researchers included more Greek students than the campus population as a whole.

The sampling plan was adequate. In the survey data collection program, the researchers collected samples in 2 ways. First, a sample of 1,340 students enrolled in a large, lecture-hall, introductory communication theory class, over the course of 3 semesters (fall 2005, spring 2006, and fall 2006). Secondly, the sample collection consisted of 1,811 students: 45% male and 55% female, 92% white, 4% African American, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Latino, and 2% other race/multiracial.

There sample bias was identified not directly from the study design but from the results that revealed that most of the illicit drug users were white men and that of Greek nationals. In order to estimate the reliability, the researchers have followed a method of revising question wording and survey structure after making a pilot study of 94 students and receiving their feedback. This method was appropriate in obtaining demographic information, nonprescribed stimulant medication and about drug details, perceptions, and reasons for personal use. The report is appropriate in shedding light on evidence that validate the quality of measures taken. The measures incorporated have furnished evidence regarding the motives of academic and non academic origin. This made researchers to obtain much information of circumstances that led to the types of motives, for example, for recreation, for academic achievements etc. This also provided clues to assess physical and psychological dangers of stimulant use without a medical prescription, future implications and the need for intervention strategies such as freshman orientation programs, campus speaker series, and classroom discussions incorporated in appropriate curricula (eg, chemistry, biology, psychology classes).

The results of the test were statistically significant in terms of sex, years in school and Greek status. Whereas the results of race appears to be non- significant. The results were related back to the research question as the rationales for using illicit ADHD medication were well identified among college students. The research design was described well in giving the information on175 full-time undergraduates the mode of interviews conducted using hand held audio tape recorders. The design was intended to facilitate the comfort and trust levels of the undergraduates.

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The design might not have strengthened by a longitudinal perspective as it could not draw sample from a variety of college premises in the university. Hence the data collection was appropriate. The setting also complied with the research question under investigation. This is because of variety of college students were interviewed who revealed different types of rationale for their motives to use illicit ADHD medication. Hence, the collection of data did not place any unnecessary burden. The trustworthiness of the data relies on the reliable information obtained through surveys that revealed different motives of academic and non academic origin. In order to better improve the credibility of the data, the researcher used a technique of demographic category, where the number of users in each category were divided by the total number surveyed (excluding individuals with legal prescriptions).The themes and codes that emerged from the study are that ADHD medications were potential drugs with reference to increasing attention duration, enjoying work, enhancement of cognitive abilities, and fighting fatigue. The context of the phenomenon described was that ADHD medication has detrimental effects given without medical prescription. The illicit use of drugs could become the choice of students that would other wise harm their life through addiction, Therefore, writing the research paper is of great use to individuals especially of younger age and those with ADHD as this has highlighted the rationale of several motives that emerge in the younger generation. At the same time, the research paper has emphasized on the awareness campaigns in college campuses

In view of the above information, the use of illicit ADHD medication among college students has potential support from the literature cited. Hence, the article is worth supporting and has moderate limitations.


Findling, R., L., & Dogin, J., W. (1998). Psychopharmacology of ADHD: children and adolescents. J Clin Psychiatry, 59, 42-9.

Weyandt, L., L., & Dupaul, G., J. (2008). Dev Disabil Res Rev, 14, 311-9.

Greenhill, L., L. (2006). The science of stimulant abuse. Pediatr Ann, 35, 552-6.

Dupont ,R.,L., Coleman, J.,J., Bucher ,R.,H., Wilford, B.,B. (2008). Characteristics and motives of college students who engage in nonmedical use of methylphenidate. Am J Addict, 17, 167-71.

Rabiner , D., L., Anastopoulos ,A.,D., Costello, E.,J., Hoyle, R.,H., McCabe, S.,E., Swartzwelder, H.,S.(2009).J Atten Disord, 13, 259-70.


The use of illicit drugs/ medications among younger generation has become more rampant especially in college campuses. This could be attributed to increase in number of children from 4- 17 years with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the tendency for abuse and addiction. So, this has drawn the attention of researchers to determine the rationale or the motive, the feasibility involved in the accessibility behind the illicit use of ADHD medication prescribed for treatment on American college campuses.

Thus, researchers have justified the scope of the problem by making quantitative and qualititative methods of surveys. First method consisted of a sample of 1,340 students from different majors across the campus and 471 surveys, Additional 1,811 students with various ethnic origins. Second method consisted of interviewing 175 full-time undergraduates by employing hand held audio tape recorders. The results have suggested the use of ADHD medication was more in men, white students, upperclassmen, and Greek members (versus non-Greeks). This has addressed the issue on ethnic grounds. On the other hand, the motives revealed from the findings were that most students use drugs to enhance attention levels in order to achieve academic success.

The other reason was to correct attention problems. Thus, both academic and non academic motives were revealed. The strength of the paper is that the researchers are precise in addressing the hypothesis, selecting the appropriate group of students and conducting valid qualitative and quantitative interviews. This also led to achieve a statistically significant finding. Demographic data has furnished better insights on the various groups of students were involved. Hence, it can be inferred from the paper that ADHD mediations were believed to possess both beneficial and detrimental effects which is directly proportional to prescription by a qualified Medical professional. Awareness programs on ADHD in college campuses should be given considerable importance.

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