Prospective study of adolescent drug use among community samples of ADHD and non-ADHD participants

Gerald August, Ken C Winters, George M Realmuto, Tamara Fahnhorst, Andria Botzet, Susanne S Lee

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82 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe the late adolescent drug use outcomes from a relatively large, community-identified sample of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who have been assessed longitudinally from childhood through late adolescence. METHOD: Adolescent drug use outcomes were compared between ADHD-only (n = 27), ADHD-externalizing (mostly oppositional defiant disorder) (n = 82), and normal control (n = 91) groups. RESULTS: The ADHD-externalizing group revealed significantly worse drug use outcomes (drug use frequency and substance use disorders) compared to the other two groups, and the ADHD-only group showed outcomes comparable to the community control group. CONCLUSIONS: ADHD without a comorbid externalizing disorder is not associated with an increased risk of drug abuse. ADHD with a comorbid externalizing disorder, primarily oppositional defiant disorder, is associated with an elevated risk of drug use, particularly with respect to marijuana and tobacco involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-832
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Adolescent drug use
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Externalizing


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