Young adults are the fastest-growing demographic taking medication to treat their ADHD. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of monthly prescriptions written for people ages 20 to 39 increased from 5.6 million to almost 14 million, according to a report in The New York Times. As the number of young college-aged people taking the medication rises, so does the possibility of abuse.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a behavioral disorder marked by an inability to focus, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. Many people with ADHD take medication, using either stimulants like Adderall or non-stimulants like Strattera, to help manage the disorder.
According to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, stimulants are the most widely used ADHD medication. Stimulants improve ADHD symptoms by helping to maintain focus, but they can also diminish appetite, increase heart rate, and make it difficult to fall asleep. While the side effects may give some pause, many college students without ADHD use these stimulants specifically because of the drugs’ ability to give them superhuman focus while staving off sleep. Suddenly, thanks to Adderall, Ritalin, and similar medication, all-nighters and intensive homework assignments can be tackled with ease.
Students who misuse stimulants fail to recognize the potentially dangerous situation in which they’re inadvertently putting themselves. Adderall and other stimulants are incredibly addictive, and the Food and Drug Administration warns that the drugs can lead to heart problems as well as behavioral and mental issues such as aggression or hostility. In light of the drugs’ addictive properties, the government has classified stimulants as a Schedule II substance in order to prevent abuse. This classification means that there are no refills on the medication, and prescriptions must be written every month.
Since stimulants require a prescription, non-ADHD students seeking to experience laser focus and exceptional information retention have two options: feign symptoms and get a prescription or get the pills through someone who has them.
In a Rock Center with Brian Williams video from Fall 2012, Stephan Perez, a former Columbia University student who was caught dealing Adderall, explains how he got a prescription from the school psychologist. Perez says that a friend told him to go to Health Services and talk about his difficulty focusing and studying. After meeting with a psychologist and answering a few questions, he would receive a prescription. It worked.
Stimulant usage is quite common on college campuses. As a Schedule II substance, stimulants belong in the same category as other addictive drugs like cocaine and oxycodone. Students can easily become dependent on the stimulants to finish assignments, and if they’re caught misusing them, they can be charged with a felony.
What To Do If A Friend Is Abusing Stimulants
If you have a non-ADHD friend who is using stimulants to boost his/her academic performance, sit down and talk about the serious nature of the medication. Emphasize the significant likelihood of developing an addiction to the stimulant, which will undoubtedly have a negative effect on your friend’s day to day activities. Suggest devising a regular homework schedule so that the two of you can work together and motivate each other without having to use stimulants.
Even if you have a conversation with your friend, you should still speak to someone at your school’s health services facility. You don’t have to share your friend’s name or unnecessary specifics about the situation. But conversing with a professional can help you figure out alternate ways of getting your friend to quit using stimulants. Many schools have a policy that allows students to come forward about substance abuse issues without any negative consequences in order to encourage students to get help.About the Author