Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The "Study" Drug

            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.  

DeSantis, Alan D.Webb, Elizabeth M.Noar, Seth M. "Illicit Use Of Prescription ADHD Medications On A College Campus: A Multimethodological Approach." Journal Of American College Health 57.3 (2008): 315. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.


  1. I think this is a really interesting topic. I have been at Illinois State for all 4 years and I have noticed how these drugs have become a trend. I understand that they help people who have ADD and ADHD but is is EXTREMELY easy for college students to be prescribed these types of pills. You could literally look up the symptoms for the disorders go to your doctor and have a prescription within hours. I think that it is a cop out for a lot of people who just want to use the pills and don't actually have the disorder or who want to make money off of them. I think if it is a felony then doctors should be more cautious about writing the prescriptions.

  2. Throughout my college experience from EIU to KCC to ISU, i have always been confronted with adderall. As in, people asking if i had any, if i knew of anyone that had them and so on. This drug is huge on campuses across the nation. At Illinois State i know a handful of people that use adderall to study or write papers. One of my best friends actually got a prescription of it just for that reason. I agree that this drug is very dangerous because it is in the hands of some immature kids who decide to drink on it. If you abuse it, im sure you can get an adequate feeling as you would with cocaine. And some kids dont know if they have a heart condition, which makes it extremely dangerous.

  3. I think drugs like Adderall or Ritalin are very dangerous. I think people try to tell themselves it’s okay because they are not doing hard drugs such as cocaine. I feel it is way too easy to get and I personally am against taking medicine because of the dependency and how the brain changes. I agree with Liz in the fact that doctors should be much more cautious in writing prescriptions. I say this because of the dependency and the drive for people to make money off of selling these addictive drugs.

  4. I am glad that you choose to write on this topic because it is an issue that affect me as a college student almost every week. Most of the people that I have encountered in college claim to have used one of these study drugs at one point in time or another throughout their academic career. I feel this is a problem because most of these people are almost completely unaware of the potential deter-mental effects that these drugs have on them. In addition, this is a problem because it is mostly other college students that supply other students with the drugs. This is an illegal activity that many people that are selling the drug seem to ignore. If they are caught that could result in their expulsion from the school, and at that point the study drugs become useless.

  5. During my four years of college I have witnessed many different strategies students use to study or focus. I personally know a few people who do have serious ADHD and many people will ask them for pills on a regular basis and especially during finals times. I do not think students realize that it is actually highly illegal to posses these drugs without a proper prescription. Like Liz alluded to, a crafty student would not have a hard time getting prescribed these drugs much in the same way many people in other states will be provided marijuana which they use purely for recreation.