It’s final exam week. Students crowd the university library in a desperate effort to cram information taught throughout the semester into their brain in a matter of one week. Students have their books, their highlighters, their calculators, their study guides — and their Adderall.
For many college students, it isn’t hard to find Adderall right on their own campus.
For those who haven’t heard the scoop on Adderall, it is a prescription drug commonly prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, in both adults and children. According to Drugs.com, “Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both these medicines are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.”
Adderall is also prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that causes people to fall asleep uncontrollably.
However, due to the drug’s highly stimulating effects, it has become increasingly popular for college students looking for ways to study longer and more effectively. Many students without ADHD turn to the drug due to its availability on college campuses.
Athletes have steroids. Students have Adderall.
The numbers don’t lie. According to one study, 15% of college students without a prescription have admitted to using the drug recreationally, or for academic purposes. This number isn’t even factoring the percentage of students who did not admit to the use of the drug.
“I know many students with a prescription to [Adderall],” a student from Michigan State University explains.
“Some will either sell it to other students or give it to their friends when they have a big exam coming up. It really is pretty easy to find, especially if you know a lot of people,” the student explained further.
A drug that allows students to study longer and get better grades. Sounds great, right?
Wrong. While the drug may not cause harm on a normal dosage to the casual user, it still has health risks that those who are not prescribed should be concerned about.
Being a stimulant, Adderall is a habit-forming drug. Some students claim once you start studying on it, it never is the same without it. Common side effects of the drug may be as mild as trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, increased anxiety, and nauseousness. However, at higher doses the side effects become more severe, and could require medical attention. These side effects include increased heart rate, heart palpitations, hives, increased anxiety and anger, and even heart failure.
Although the more sever side effects are commonly related to long term use at high doses, they shouldn’t necessarily be ignored, since a tolerance to the stimulant can develop after only a few uses.
In addition to having potentially dangerous side effects, Adderall is also classified as a Schedule II (2) Controlled Substance by the DEA, putting it in the same class as cocaine, hydrocodone and morphine in the eyes of the law.
Some students even go as far as faking ADHD behavior and symptoms to their doctor to obtain a prescription to the medication.
“It’s actually pretty common for students to go to their doctor and pretend they have ADD or ADHD to get it prescribed to them. They go online and look up the symptoms and thats what they tell the doctor they have,” another student claims.
Although the drug may not pose as an immediate threat to the casual “midterm and final exam week user”, it is still important to be mindful of the fact that the drug is being widely abused in college campuses accross the country. This trend does not seem to be slowing down, and the only solution may lie within the integrity of the students.