Speeding through the frat house: A qualitative exploration of nonmedical ADHD stimulant use in fraternities

Alan Desantis, Seth M. Noar, Elizabeth M. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Qualitative methods were used to investigate the use of nonmedical Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stimulants by fraternity members. The primary goal of the study was to determine students' levels of understanding and motivations for use of these Schedule II controlled substances. Seventy-nine in-depth interviews were conducted. Key findings highlighted how: a) easy it was for subjects to obtain stimulants; b) little health information nonmedical users have about stimulants; c) academic stress created a fertile context for stimulant use; and d) a small number of prescribed users supply the vast majority of nonmedical users with their stimulants. Most nonmedical users claimed to primarily use ADHD stimulants in periods of high academic stress and believed that they not only reduced fatigue, but also increased reading comprehension, interest, cognition, and memory. These qualitative data have supplied a rich and complex understanding behind nonmedical ADHD stimulant use among fraternity members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-171
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Drug Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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