Patterns of concurrent substance use among adolescent nonmedical ADHD stimulant users

Lian Yu Chen, Rosa M. Crum, Eric C. Strain, Silvia S. Martins, Ramin Mojtabai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: There are growing concerns about nonmedical use of ADHD stimulants among adolescents; yet, little is known whether there exist heterogeneous subgroups among adolescents with nonmedical ADHD stimulant use according to their concurrent substance use. Methods: We used latent class analysis (LCA) to examine patterns of past-year problematic substance use (meeting any criteria for abuse or dependence) in a sample of 2203 adolescent participants from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health 2006-2011 who reported past-year nonmedical use of ADHD stimulants. Multivariable latent regression was used to assess the association of socio-demographic characteristics, mental health and behavioral problems with the latent classes. Results: The model fit indices favored a four-class model, including a large class with frequent concurrent use of alcohol and marijuana (. Alcohol/marijuana class; 41.2%), a second large class with infrequent use of other substances (. Low substance class, 36.3%), a third class characterized by more frequent misuse of prescription drugs as well as other substances (. Prescription drug+. class; 14.8%), and finally a class characterized by problematic use of multiple substances (. Multiple substance class; 7.7%). Compared with individuals in Low substance class, those in the other three classes were all more likely to report mental health problems, deviant behaviors and substance abuse service use. Conclusions: Adolescent nonmedical ADHD stimulants users are a heterogeneous group with distinct classes with regard to concurrent substance use, mental health and behavioral problems. The findings have implications for planning of tailored prevention and treatment programs to curb stimulant use for this age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • ADHD stimulants
  • Deviant behaviors
  • Latent class analysis
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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