News and Articles
Fairfield U./ Academic aspirations lead to Adderall abuse
December 17, 2004
U-WIRE via NewsEdge Corporation : U-WIRE-12/16/2004-Fairfield U.: Academic aspirations lead to Adderall abuse (C) 2003 The Mirror Via U-WIRE
By Jillian Foley, The Mirror (Fairfield U.)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- If you're a college student, chances are that on at least one occasion you've found yourself left with little energy or focus to study for a big final or write a difficult paper.
In the past, pick-me-ups like coffee, Diet Coke or over-the-counter caffeine pills have been popular choices among students to get an extra buzz for studying.
But in recent years, some college students have started turning to Adderall, a prescription drug used for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, to help them study, take tests and write papers.
It increases my alertness and ability to focus for extended periods of time, and it also allows me to stay up longer, said a Fairfield senior who wished to remain anonymous.
Adderall, a form of amphetamine, is prescribed to help students with ADHD concentrate on their schoolwork. However, many students without ADHD are realizing that they too can use Adderall to their academic advantage.
According to its product information, Adderall decreases distractibility, improves attention span, and increases one's ability to follow directions and complete tasks. Taking or possessing Adderall without a prescription can be a felony. But that doesn't seem to be stopping students from seeking out the drug from classmates or, if they have it prescribed to them, from giving it to their classmates.
I'll give people my Adderall mostly because I understand that it can aid in helping them concentrate or stay awake for long periods of time, said a Fairfield senior who is prescribed the drug for ADHD. If it's my friends, I'll just give it to them for free because I want to help them out.
The student said she has not tried to make a profit of selling her Adderall but she does know other students who do.
At Fairfield University many students say either themselves or at least one of their friends have taken Adderall as a study aide.
I take Adderall as often as I can get it, and almost everyone I live with takes it for some purpose, said another Fairfield student. It's pretty rare that I meet someone who hasn't used Adderall as a study aide.
However, taking Adderall for ADHD when you do not have ADHD can have serious consequences. Side effects include insomnia, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure and sexual impotence.
Anyone who takes medication not prescribed to them is putting themselves at risk, Karen Burgess, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama told The Crimson White.
Some side effects from the types of drugs used to treat ADD are cardiac arrhythmias, palpitations and drug interactions, Burgess said.
In addition to being dangerous, many students consider Adderall abuse a form of cheating, while others that do not take the drug disagree.
I think it's OK because I could get a hold of it just as easy if I wanted to, said Allison Lane, a senior English major. So, I don't really think it's an unfair advantage. But I think it's scary that people get dependent on it in order to do something simple like study for a test.
Joel Goldfield, professor of modern languages and literature at Fairfield, is concerned for students who take Adderall without a prescription.
If [students] need that kind of help, they should ... see a psychologist or someone here at the Health and Wellness Center, Goldfield said.
Adderall is listed as a schedule II drug. The DEA categorizes drugs into five schedules according to medical and non-medical use, addictiveness and abuse potential.
Schedule IIs can be the most addictive [medical] drug and the strongest in the medical field, said Alan Alexander, group supervisor for the DEA's Diversion Control Program, It's based on abuse, primarily.
While students run the risk of legal trouble, serious side effects and addiction, the use of Adderall continues.
According to The National Drug Intelligence Center Web site, the number of prescriptions for Adderall appears to be a factor in the increased availability and illegal use of the drug.
The site also states that amphetamine prescriptions increased from 1.3 million in 1996 to 6 million in 1999.
One student said that no one was interested in obtaining her prescribed pills until recently.
In high school, everyone knew I took Adderall but no one was interested in taking it, she said. However, it's something that I do not broadcast in college because I quickly learned how in demand the drug is, she said.
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