Recently, the use and abuse of ADHD medication on college campuses have greatly increased. ADHD medication, such as Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin, are prescribed to patients with attention deficit disorder, a problem concerning inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. However, college students are turning to pills like Adderall to help them stay awake and focus on homework and studying. Pills are being sold for three to fifteen dollars depending on the dosage, and are often taken without careful consideration of the consequences.
ADHD medication can have very dangerous consequences when used inappropriately, and can even be deadly if combined with alcohol intake. Drugs used for Attention Deficit Disorder have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, and is not recommended for anyone with heart problems, high blood pressure, or a history of seizures. If an individual does not have ADHD, taking this medication is similar to taking a stimulant or speed. Drugs like Adderall can also be highly addictive, both mentally and physically, as they have a high potential for drug dependency. In addition, illegal possession of ADHD medication is considered “Possession of a controlled substance” and is a felony in Illinois as a result of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. However, this growing problem has continued to not be addressed, and is still often viewed without the stigma of illegal drug use. The reason behind the lack of action that has been taken regarding this epidemic lies in the difficultly of identifying the individuals who are using and selling the drug. While the drug is highly accessible, pinpointing the sellers and users of ADHD medication illegally is extremely challenging and calls for brainstorming of new ideas on how to recognize these individuals.
Patients of ADHD have an imbalance of neurotransmitters, therefore this medication works by increasing the amount of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, the neurotransmitters that control one’s ability to focus and pay attention. When an individual without ADHD takes the medication, they experience an extremely heightened sense of focus and concentration. In addition to the legal and health risks that are linked to this drug, there is also an ethical aspect as well. ADHD medication is being compared to steroids, as students taking pills like Adderall are using drugs to enhance their academic ability. Therefore, some individuals view ADHD medication as a mental steroid or form of cheating, as it can give students an unfair advantage to others.
Overall, the use and abuse of ADHD medication continues to increase, specifically on college campuses. Students are not bothered by the risks associated with the drug, as they most likely have not seen the consequences put into action. Many individuals believe this drug is safe because a doctor prescribes it; however taking Attention Deficit Disorder medication without the supervision of a doctor is extremely dangerous and possibly life threatening. This epidemic is cause for great concern as the use of ADHD medication continues to rise, yet the precautions being taken to prevent this abuse remains complacent.