Stimulant treatment in Maryland public schools

Daniel J. Safer, Michael Malever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Objective. A statewide school survey was performed to provide naturalistic data on the prevalence of medication administered to Maryland public school students for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to clarify the concern of some state legislators about stimulant treatment for youths. Methods. In April 1998, school nurses supervised a survey of all Maryland public school students medicated during school hours for ADHD. The data collected on these students included: type of medication administered, gender, school level, race/ethnicity, special education and Section 504 status, and the specialist of the prescriber. Results. Of the 816 465 students surveyed, 20 050 (2.46%) received methylphenidate and 3721 (0.46%) received other medications for ADHD. Other major findings were: 1) methylphenidate constituted 84% of all the medication administered for ADHD; 2) the male:female ratio of the medication's recipients was 3.5:1 and 4.3:1 in elementary and secondary school, respectively; 3) black and Hispanic students received methylphenidate at approximately half the rate of their white counterparts; 4) 45% of all students receiving methylphenidate had special education status and an additional 8% had Section 504 status; and 5) nurse practitioners were the prescribers of 3% of the methylphenidate prescribed to Maryland students. Conclusions. This large, population-based, point prevalence study of medication administered to students for ADHD adds new and updated findings on prevalence variations, rates for minority and special education/ Section 504 students, and specialty prescriber rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Methylphenidate
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Stimulant medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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