By Summer Dashe, writer at Southern Methodist University’s Daily Campus.
- Students across America are depending on drugs like adderall to help them focus and study.
- Adderall is prescribed for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- If used inappropriately, adderall can cause heart problems and brain disorders
It is the academic version of steroids, only easier to get. It is a drug that inhibits focus and energy; two side effects college students would pay, steal and pop pills for.
“I think there’s too many of them, too many kids taking it that don’t really need it. What’s worse is almost half of them end up in an alcohol rehab,” Howard Darby, a CVS pharmacist, said.
When asked to speak on adderall issues, most students were reluctant and declined. The problem is not that student’s don’t know it’s wrong, it’s that it has become somewhat of a social norm.
Adderall and related drugs are prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are in a class of drugs known as central nervous system stimulants. Students use the drug to help them focus on their studies.
“Some students get it from their friends, some get it illegally online,” John Sanger, a drug councilor at the Memorial Health Center, said.
It is popular, according to Darby, and easy to get. Many students, who would not allow their names to be published, said their friends would either give them the drug or sell it to them. They said everyone knows someone who has it and everyone knows someone willing to give it up.
Students’ talk about adderall like ibuprofen, you simply take it when you need it and it helps you. There is a nonchalant vibe surrounding the drug and one that is generally campus wide. It is a federal crime to sell the drug, but that doesn’t stop 51 percent of students on this campus. Out of 50 students polled, 51 percent admitted to using the drug even though they did not have a prescription.
It has become as common as cough drops. One staff member said he finds the little blue and pink pills laying around classrooms weekly. Those little colorful pills can be more harmful than most students are aware.
“You have to think about that, if you’re taking someone else’s prescription that that drug is not designed for you,” Alison Mcdonagh, a junior SMU student prescribed adderall for ADHD, said.
Adderall and related drugs are addictive. They can cause serious heart problems and mental impairment. Mcdonagh says she has to hide her prescription out of fear that someone may attempt to steal it. She also said having the drug causes pressure since it is a drug “that is high in demand.”
Universities across the country are experiencing the adderall epidemic. According to a national statistic, six percent of college students have abused adderall. The number is much higher at SMU according to the poll.
Students who abuse adderall are much more likely to abuse other illegal drugs. Studies show that prescription drug abuse often leads to other drug abuse. Much like marijuana being the gateway drug to illegal drugs, adderall seems to be a gateway drug to prescription drug abuse.
It’s a problem officials say they don’t know how to fight. According to the Memorial Health Center, nothing is currently being done to diminish the abuse of adderall on the SMU campus. However, they do offer education on prescription drug abuse.
Editor: Anna Hall, Intercollegiate Online News Network
Get a FREE copy of Kill the Quarterback
Get a free digital copy of Jim Stovall's mystery novel, Kill the Quarterback. You will also get Jim's newsletter and advanced notice of publications, free downloads and a variety of information about what he is working on. Jim likes to stay in touch, so sign up today.