Adderall Abuse and the College Student

Adderall Abuse and College Students 

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As students ourselves, we all know how stressful college life can be, especially when we have that little bit of extra work to do before tomorrow. So, as students, we obviously work to find the most efficient way to get our work done. For some, that means going straight to the library for a quiet solitude study session, for others it means heading right back to lock yourself in your dorm for what seems like the rest of time. Most of us see Adderall as a prescription drug that some people just need to function in today’s world; however,  a staggering number of students in college take this drug in random doses without prescription. In 2012, a K-State alcohol and drug education survey found that 12 percent of the students in the survey used this drug unprescribed. That number is up from just one percent six years earlier. This study can be found here.

Adderall is a highly addictive drug that could cause serious harm to the mental functions of the abuser, when prescribed however, it can actually be helpful to someone. After long hours of research on the topic, it is apparent that the problem of using adderall unprescribed is way bigger than I had even thought of. Out of the 31% of college students that take some form of ADHD medication, only 5.3% of them are actually prescribed. After seeing these results I wanted to find for myself just how accurate this study is, specifically for students at Penn State, so I interviewed 15 people, 10 males, and 5 females, out of those 3 of the females associated closely with each other, and 7 of the males do. I went out of my way to find random students to ask if they were prescribed vs. if they have used adderall this semester, or intend to use adderall for finals. These are my results:

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Out of the 15 people I surveyed, only 2 were prescribed adderall (13%), 9 admitted to using some form of ADHD drug during the semester (60%), 11 admitted they had thought about, or had intentions to take a drug to help them study in the future (73.3%), and one person said maybe (6.7%). While these numbers did not totally match up with the larger survey mentioned above, these results were more surprising than just reading the survey. Conducting my own survey really hit home on the topic because most of those surveyed are people I know and wouldn’t have previously expected to take stimulants.

In my opinion, study drugs give the abuser an unfair advantage on the rest of us, and especially in a class graded on a curve, one could imagine how that really puts a damper on a non users grades. that brings up the idea of these drugs being included in academic dishonesty and more. What do you think? Is this a problem that needs to be dealt with more severely and more carefully, or should we just keep up how we are going and continue to let people abuse these drugs to gain that slight advantage? Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 2.34.48 PM

2 thoughts on “Adderall Abuse and the College Student

  1. Ty Austin Miller

    I liked the survey, but it really has very little value scientifically. The small sample size is an immediate warning sign, especially when we go to such a large school. The fact that there is little randomization is worrisome as well. I appreciate the candor you display when you tell us that 7 of the men are associates and 3 of the women are associates, but it really hurts the credibility of the survey. It would have also been helpful to know whether the responders where Graduate students or Undergrads, Seniors or Juniors, etc.

  2. las6099

    I agree with you that when students who are not prescribed Adderall use it anyway, it gives them an unfair advantage over those who choose not to use it. Apart from whether or not you believe it is okay to use study drugs or not (and after looking at the survey you did it seems that the majority of people are okay with it) taking drugs to help you study can be an expensive habit to start.
    What I think that many students struggle with is deciding whether or not they should resort to using study drugs to help during stressful times like midterms or finals week. On one hand, it is a drug that is not prescribed to you. On the other hand, if you are struggling in school and you know that there is something you can do to help you succeed in, should you take drugs to help you? You should check out this article and read the part under “risk versus reward” I found it really interesting!
    Great job on your blog, I loved that you conducted your own survey with students here!

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