Stimulants Like Ritalin May Be Gateway Drugs for College Students

Use of stimulants among college students was once thought to be a problem among high achievers seeking energy and focus to study.

Not so, according to new research that links misuse of these so-called "study drugs" to binge drinking and marijuana use. The stereotype of students bumming a prescription medication like Adderall or Ritalin to study is off the mark, it suggests.

"Stimulant use may be a kind of catch-up behavior," said study author Ash Warnock, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, in Athens. "Some studies have shown that students who party with drugs and alcohol on the weekends use stimulants like an academic catch up because they're behind on their studies."

The report — recently published in the Journal of American College Health — suggests the drugs may be creating new problems for users.

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