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ADHD in Children Health Center

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ADHD Meds May Not Up Drug Abuse Risk in Adulthood

Analysis shows no greater threat of addiction to alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine or other drugs

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The report was published online May 29 in JAMA Psychiatry.

In this U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study, the researchers analyzed data on over 2,500 individuals from 15 studies published between January 1980 and February 2012.

This type of study is called a meta-analysis, in which researchers attempt to uncover patterns among different studies that reveal a consistent trend. The limits of a meta-analysis are that the conclusions are only as good as the data in the original studies, and whether these studies actually provide strong evidence to answer the question the researchers are posing.

Based on data in these studies, Humphreys and colleagues calculated the odds of someone who had taken stimulants to treat ADHD going on to abuse or become addicted to alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine and other nonspecific drugs, comparing them with children who had not taken ADHD medications.

The researchers found that whether or not children had taken ADHD stimulants, the odds of becoming drug-dependent in adulthood were the same.

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