The diversion of prescribed stimulant medications of 10th graders in Iceland

Kristofersson, G., Arnarsson, A., Heimisson, G. and Sigurdardottir, D.
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INTRODUCTION: ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that usually surfaces before seven years of age. Stimulants are commonly used medications for the treatment of this disorder in Iceland, but they carry with them a significant risk of both abuse and diversion - i.e. when it is used by an individual other than it was prescribed for by a physician. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of diversion amongst Icelandic adolescents.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study is based on data collected in the Icelandic portion of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) focused on the drug and alcohol use of 10th graders in Europe.

RESULTS: Of the 2,306 students that participated in the study 91% (2,098) claimed they had never been prescribed stimulant medications while 9% (208) claimed they had. Boys were twice as likely to get a stimulant prescription compared to girls. Almost 18% of the participants that had been prescribed simulants said they had at some point in time diverted their stimulant medication.

CONCLUSION: The diversion of stimulants by 10th graders in Iceland is quite common compared to studies from other countries where the prevalence is closer to 5-10%. These findings demonstrate the importance of carefully overseeing stimulant use of adolescents, for the benefit of both those who divert as well as those diverted to.

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Peer reviewed article/paper