No association between stimulant treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance use

Clinical Question

Does stimulant treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affect the risk of subsequent substance use through adolescence into early adulthood?

Bottom line

This study found no evidence that stimulant treatment for ADHD is associated with an increased or decreased risk of self-reported substance use through adolescence into early adulthood. See the synopsis for a discussion of possible reporting biases.  2b

Study design: Cohort (prospective)

Funding: Government

Setting: Outpatient (any)


David C. Slawson, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Family Medicine for Education and Scholarship
Atrium Health
Professor of Family Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill
Charlotte, NC

Discuss this POEM



ADD meds and substance use

I actually think people treated for ADHD with stimulants might be LESS likely to use because my understanding is that many adolescents self “medicate” with cannabis


ADHD meds do not increase risk of other substance abuse

Good to know