A new analysis of the data has found that there is no link between child use of ADHD stimulant medication and substance abuse later on in life.
Research shows that a rising percentage of children—11 percent of all children ages 4 through 17—have been diagnosed with ADHD, and 60 percent of children with ADHD use medication long-term. Although many doctors believe that diagnosing and medicating ADHD can prevent self-medication and reduce the risk of substance abuse, researchers did not find that result when they looked at the data.
Three researchers looked at 15 studies on the subject, covering 1980 to 2012 and including 2,500 children with ADHD. According to the New York Times, the researchers found that stimulant medications had “no effect one way or the other” on a child’s substance abuse later on in life. The paper was published by the American Medical Association.