Textbook, laptop, pencil, Adderall – this drug has become a popular study tool for college students. Its use for non-medical purposes has increased substantially over the past few years on college campuses.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 percent of college students reported having used Adderall for non-medical reasons in 2006 and 2007.
Adderall is normally prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It heightens focus, keeps you awake and increases retention, which motivates non-medical uses of the drug for studying, reading, and memorization of information.
“Adderall is a cocktail of amphetamines that increases focus and mental-processing speed, and decreases fatigue.” states Drugenquirer.com.
Adderall, is an amphetamine comparable to cocaine that can cause a variety of side effects from weight loss to inability to sleep, increased blood pressure and seizures.
The use of this psycho-stimulant increased by 93 percent to 225,000 students from 1993 to 2005 reports The National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
AlcholEdu survey on USF campus reported in 2008 that Adderall was number two, but jumped to number one in 2010 for top illegal drug on campus.
“Weed, Adderall and other psycho-stimulants of the sort, as far as top use on campus goes,” says Aaron Poidevin, a junior.
“This year was my first year to use Adderall,” said Alex, who asked to have his name changed, is a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering at USF. He is not prescribed Adderall, but uses it to study for major exams.
“It allows me to study effectively; it controls my brain to make sure I don’t get distracted by my surroundings.”
“I don’t have any specific USF data for the ‘why” of student use with ADHD medications,” says Jennifer A. Fuller, coordinator of Alcohol & Other Drugs Awareness and Prevention Initiatives on USF’s campus.
Students’ non-medical use of Adderall may be linked to performance anxiety within their academics.
“Nowadays it is expected to go to college, some people would rather not go to college…so it creates a pressure to go to school and to excel within their studies,” says a clinical social work student at Columbia University who works with substance users.
“Drugs work. They are quick and easy, but students are relying on Adderall to get them through school instead of doing what they have to do, whether it’s learning time management skills, dropping activities or prioritizing correctly.”
As the Adderall phenomena keeps growing it raises questions regarding what effect this drug use will have on the student population at large.