Since 1971, the Baltimore County Health Department has conducted nine biannual surveys of school nurses in all of the county's public and private schools to determine the prevalence of medication treatment for hyperactivity/inattentiveness among students. The results reveal a consistent doubling of the rate of medication treatment for hyperactive/inattentive students every four to seven years such that in 1987,5.96% of all public elementary school students were receiving such treatment. Related trends from 1971 to 1987 have been that stimulants increased from 76% to 99% of the medication prescribed; methylphenidate hydrochloride rose from 40% to 93% of the total; the male-female ratio dropped from an average of 8:1 to 5:1; the rate of medication treatment for hyperactive/inattentive students rose faster in secondary than in elementary schools; and 25% of students receiving stimulant medication in 1987 were in special education classes or schools.
Safer DJ, Krager JM. A Survey of Medication Treatment for Hyperactive/Inattentive Students. JAMA. 1988;260(15):2256-2258. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410150104040