January 27, 2023ADHD prescriptions and medication use among 12th grade patients hit an all-time high last year, according to a new study that found 15% of high school seniors reported stimulant or non-stimulant ADHD medication use in 2022 compared to 11% in 2021. The annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) attributed this 36% increase in ADHD medication use to “more stress” or attention issues made “more salient to their parents” during the pandemic’s lockdowns and remote learning.1The legal, or medically supervised, use of ADHD medication was “one of the few substances with increasing prevalence during the pandemic,” according to the report, which found that lifetime use had increased for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2022.
The 30-day use of stimulant and non-stimulant medication by 12th graders in 2022 was the highest ever recorded by NIDA’s survey. Notably, 11.2% of 12th graders had used a stimulant for ADHD in their lifetime and 5.6% in the past 30 days, according to 2022 data collected from 31,438 students across 308 schools.The MTF survey is conducted annually by researchers at the University of Michigan.
The use of ADHD medication was first recorded in 2001 (nonmedical) and 2005 (medical). Researchers collect data on self-reported use of various drugs over 30 days, 12 months, and lifetime from hundreds of schools across the U.S.
It also measures attitudes and beliefs surrounding substance use.Prior to the pandemic, legal use of ADHD medication had been trending downward for patients in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. Levels were at the lowest or near-lowest ever recorded by NIDA’s survey.“It is possible that the need for treatment of ADHD increased during
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