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Drugs & Health Blog

Girls and Boys Have Different Reasons for Prescription Drug Use

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Recent research shows that American teen girls have caught up with boys in their rates of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, which hasn’t always been the case. Here’s something else: teenage girls are now more likely than boys to abuse prescription drugs like pain pills and ADHD medications. The thing is—they have different reasons for doing so.

NIDA researchers surveyed hundreds of teens and asked them about their motivations for using particular prescription drugs. For stimulants like ADHD medications, for example, the young men were more likely to abuse them to get high or experiment, while for young women, it was to help them concentrate or stay alert. In other words, the young women were more likely “self-treat” for a specific purpose.

So what’s wrong with that? They’re prescribed by a doctor, after all—how dangerous can they be?

For one thing, when you borrow someone else’s medication or even take your own in a way that wasn’t prescribed, you put yourself at risk for scary side effects that can change your heart rhythm and breathing. And although prescription drugs may seem safer than street drugs, they still can lead to addiction and even death, especially when they’re mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Do you have a friend who abuses prescription drugs? Do your own survey—ask them why, and let us know what you find out.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


very interesting

Euphoria - is what the reasons have in common - drugs lie and say that everything will be ok. we teach people to find euphoria clean and sober.

As I noticed, there are individuals who take illicit drugs to enhance their mind state and also give them a feeling of euphoria. There are also individuals who abuse them to get the same feelings in a much safer way. I've known several people with this case.


Hi, this is a very nice blog to read. Thank you so much for the priceless information, ADHD is diagnosed two to four times as frequently in boys as in girls, though studies suggest this discrepancy may be due to subjective bias of referring teachers

When my sister started to smoke she told me to try it. She said that I didnt have to worry because everyone was doing it. And by reading this article im happy that the rates of the people smoking went down, beacuse when my older sister that I looked up to

I will come back again, that is nice site. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Euphoria is beautiful place no matter how you get there, the problem is when you leave, and the perception under the influence often leads to consequences, so the goal is to find a way to euphoria clean and sober.
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Say no to prescription or non-precrisptiondrugs!
What I would like to see from this blog are the health benefits of eating raw vegetables and fruits. Vegetables that are not steamed, cooked or boiled. No processed foods and certainly no junk foods. There have been numerous articles on the benefits of eating raw foods on a daily basis. More raw foods, less prescription drugs. Prevention is the key to overall wellness and one great key is to eat the foods that nature has intended for us to eat in its original state- out of the ground with no pesticides, no chemicals. Just wash them and eat them raw.

I certainly could attest to that.

Here's another example why I don't use prescription drugs- when I developed foot pain from my sudden decision to go jogging- I developed Plantar Fasciitis. The pain got so bad that I was actually tempted to get some over the counter pain killers. But I have been leery of prescription and non-prescription drugs so I went to a podiatrist. She diagnosed it as Plantar Fasciitis. She gave me some exercises to do and a prescription for the pain. I never got the prescription but I did do the exercises and I also discovered some exercises on my own that greatly relieved the pain. For those of you who have plantar fasciitis, I posted the pictures of the exercises on my blog [commercial link removed, per guidelines]. Eventually, the pain disappeared. The pain went away on its own without any drugs- just exercises.

I know that there could be a host of medical problems out there that could be prevented from doing exercises and eating raw foods.



I think this is right in some ways. They are stating that boys use drugs to get high and girls use it for concentration. Girls can just as easily be under the influence just to get high just like males, and boys might just want to concentrate as well. Some students that are under the influence might just be under peer pressure and feel as if everyone else is doing it I should to.

I had people try to get me to smoke, but I always turned it down. I did that because I didn't want my lungs to turn black, and I don't want to die early

It is the real fact about how boys and girls use drugs. Boys likely use drugs to challenge themselve, make them have the different experiences while girls use drugs for treating their own feeling, it is the way that when they can not "wake up" by themselve, they have to depend on drugs and it is bad when it's becoming a sequence. No matter it is street drugs or prescription drugs, it still kill you when it is too much, street drugs damage you and obviously it is easy to see and everybody knows that but prescription drugs...people do not think the dangerous of them, they think it is the treatment but it is also DRUGS, don't follow doctor's direction? you never know what you are going to get!

I think this is priceless good information is interesting. I think that other people should read this blog to know that girls have caught up with boys in this situation.

Hello, I wrote a blog post on how to manage a healthy weight in college by establishing positive habits early on. By getting started early, college students can avoid the freshman 15. This is beneficial far beyond college and lasts for a lifetime. Wishing you the best. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

this is quite helpful

A very interesting article, indeed. I'd like to cover the prescription drug fiasco on my blog, [commercial link removed, per guidelines] , but I'm not sure how to approach the topic.

@MajorInEconomics Check out the Prescription Medications link on the NIDA home page - it may help get you started on a way to tackle this complex issue.

very interesting article indeed. I’d like to cover the prescription drug fiasco on my blog,

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GO CICI!!!!:)

I belive u should say no 2 non precripion drugs.Dis blog can help u.People tried 2 get me 2 smoke but i said no ad they called me a [expletive deleted] and an [expletive deleted] so I just walked iz hard 2 say no.da thing iz y do u want 2 smoke i mean wat iz so good bout it cuz 2 me all it iz gonna do iz turn your lungs black.Da teens who lov 2 smoke day need to prepare to hav some black lungs.


This is quite bad.I suggest them don't try to kill your self.Leave Smoking&Drinking,enjoy a happy life.