Rampant Adderall abuse needs to be reigned in
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 06:09
Going to college is viewed by most as an exciting change in life is filled with new experiences, people and a fresh sense of freedom. There is no one to tell you what time to go to bed, when to eat or if you need to be doing your homework. Essentially, you can do whatever pleases you. Although there are all sorts of excitement happening around you, there is still work to be done.
After making it through syllabus week you think to yourself; "What is all this commotion about college being difficult? It doesn’t seem that bad." Then you get a few more weeks into the semester and realize you are drowning in work and more behind than you thought possible.
How are you ever going to get all this homework done? You are overwhelmed by distractions and eventually just give up. As you’re venting to your new roommate about all your stress, they offer you a solution. They pull out a little blue pill and tell you that it will help you focus, finish your homework and even have time to study for your big test next week. Hesitant but desperate, you take the pill and get to work. You sit at your desk for twelve hours and complete all your work. The pill seemed to do the trick.
Adderall abuse has been an increasingly pertinent issue on high school and college campuses in the past decade, especially in the past few years. Availability has increased by extraordinary amounts and the drug is being used for multiple purposes. For those who are not prescribed the medication, it is used to enhance focus, increase energy and decrease appetite.
Medically, Adderall is prescribed to treat patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Along with treating symptoms of ADHD, the stimulant is intended to improve "self-esteem, cognition and social and family interactions" of the patient.
The abuse of Adderall on campuses is a tremendous issue that needs to be handled. In high school, I knew a few people who occasionally abused stimulants. But, there were always more people who were legally prescribed Adderall to treat their medical condition than there were students illegally abusing it.
In college it has been the complete opposite experience: it seems more people are exploiting the effects of Adderall than ever before.
How and why is the mistreatment of this drug so apparent? The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009 performed a study on Adderall abuse. The study showed that college students between the age 18-22 were twice as likely to abuse Adderall than those of the same age not in college.
The main cause of Adderall abuse is overprescribing of the drug and the high demand among overwhelmed college students. There are students I know of who have simply gone to the doctor complaining of not being able to focus and being easily distracted, and the next moment they are walking out the door with a prescription for Adderall.
When word spreads that it is easy to obtain the stimulant, it is not that difficult to pass the doctor’s test and act distracted for twenty minutes to be prescribed the medication. From there, Adderall can be sold at obscene prices to students just so they can try to get through their homework.
Under the Controlled Substance Act, Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance. This places Adderall on the same level as Codeine, Morphine and Oxycodone. Therefore, there is a high risk of dependence on the drug, but that does not seem to be a relevant issue to those students who begin using the drug.
It is difficult to imagine why someone would accept that it’s okay to casually use this substance and not believe they will form an addiction to it.
Some of the negative side effects of Adderall are dry mouth, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, high blood pressure and seizures.
Adderall abuse is spreading, and the problem is not going away any time soon as more students use it as a study crutch, weight loss method or means of recreation. Giving someone a pill when they have a complaint does not mean a problem is solved – especially when it is given away as easily as Adderall is.
There need to be more extensive procedures for someone to obtain a prescription for Adderall.
If someone has a prescription, there needs to be better means of maintaining how many prescriptions that person has and how often it is used.