The aim is To evaluate perspectives of youth regarding diverted stimulant use among a contemporary sample of adolescents and young adults. This study used MyVoice, a longitudinal national text message survey of American youth. In February 2019, 1228 MyVoice youth were asked 4 open-ended questions to elicit their perspectives on diverted stimulant use. Responses were assessed using thematic analysis, and quantitative results were summarized using descriptive statistics.

Of 1228 youth, 906 responded to at least one survey question (relative risk, 74%). Respondents’ ages ranged from 14 to 24 years with a mean age of 18.8 ± 2.9 years, 57% were female, and 66% identified as White. Peer pressure and coping were commonly perceived reasons for diversion, and respondents believed that many youth misuse stimulants. Many were aware of health risks of misuse, but few mentioned potential legal consequences. Youth thought stimulants could be obtained from peers, people with a prescription, dealers, and family, and some mentioned access through unnecessary prescriptions. The perspectives of a national sample of youth suggest that stimulant diversion continues to be a significant problem among American youth, with many noting that diverted stimulants are easy to obtain and are used to self-treat mental health issues. Standardized interventions at schools and in healthcare settings, as well as universal screening for diversion and mental health conditions, may combat this public health concern.


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