College Students use Adderall as Study Drug
Students at Colleges use ADHD drugs like Adderall or Ritalin for a better focus on learning.
Adderall and Ritalin are prescription drugs used for the treatment of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. CNN recently reported that the medication is being used on college campuses as a “study drug” by students who have neither ADHD nor a doctor’s prescription.
According to the federal government, both drugs have a high potential for dependence and abuse. Classified as amphetamines, or stimulants, they also have a number of possible side effects:
• Stomach problems
• Psychosis, or loss of contact with reality
At Emory University’s medical school, Dr Raymond Kotwicki, researcher and assistant professor in the psychiatry department, is concerned about students’ rampant use of amphetamines. Although they may temporarily make academic studies easier and even produce feelings of euphoria, Kotwicki says the long-term effects are unknown and may include mood or thought disorders. He also worries that the drugs may lead to abuse by students who are perfectionists.
In agreement is Allen Desantis, researcher and professor at the University of Kentucky. Based on his research, 30 percent of all students at the university admit to using ADHD drugs. Half of the students in the junior and senior classes have taken stimulants, and the number increases to 80 percent among sorority and fraternity members.
Students view the situation differently. They feel drugs like Adderall help them to focus on what they need to learn and accomplish tasks they could not do without the medication. In fact, they see the pills as being less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol and seem to have no trouble acquiring them without a prescription. They also seem to be unconcerned about the fact that the drugs are illegal and students who buy or sell them could face prosecution.
While there is little doubt that ADHD drugs can be beneficial when properly prescribed and administered, the evidence for the use of “study drugs” is less clear. In 2008, an article in the journal “Nature” expressed the views of five scientific researchers who said there is a need for “safe and effective cognitive enhancers” and that the drugs “will benefit both the individual and society.”
Meanwhile, the verdict is still out.