Think Twice About Using Adderall

Think about how many times you’ve heard the word “adderall” flying around campus. Whether you hear it as you walk through a crowd or maybe a close friend has used it. Actually, chances are you probably know someone who has taken this “study drug”. For those who are unaware, adderall is an amphetamine that is commonly prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ( Not only can adderall be harmful to your health, it’s flat out cheating and it agitates me when I hear about students using it for their classes. The use of adderall on college campuses is a topic that makes me AdderallXR8mad, however I will try not to express my emotions in this post as I’m sure there are a handful of people in this class who have used adderall. One more thing, I fully acknowledge and support anyone who actually has a prescription for the drug as I understand ADHD can be difficult to deal with. My issue is with the people who illegally obtain the drug explicitly for studying and have no legitimate need for the drug.


In order to understand the negatives of the drug, we must first understand how it affects the human body and brain. Adderall increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain which essentially what allows someone to study harder, longer, and more focused (Plenke). According to doctor Clifford Segil, adderall affects the neurotransmitters in the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is why you can focus much better while on the drug (Plenke). While the drug may improve focus and overall cognitive performance, it can have some very serious consequences that be be as serious as death, especially when mixed with alcohol. Coming off of the drug typically brings on fatigue, inability to concentrate, headaches, and possibly depression. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported 31,244 ADHD drug related emergency room cases in 2010, up from just 13,379 in 2005 (SAMSHA). It is important to note that adderall can be highly addictive and can often be difficult and outright frightening to halt using the drug immediately. Once people become dependent on the drug, they feel as though they need the drug to function. In severe cases, people are willing to put themselves into serious danger just to get their hands on the drug (

According to a U.S. government study from 2007, 6.4% of college students have taken adderall not prescribed to them in the past 12 months. However, it’s important to note that Penn State is not the average. We may have rates that are higher or lower than the national average of 6.4%. But for this example let’s just assume that 6.4% of SC200 students have used adderall in the past year. With 357 students in the class, that would mean that about 23 students in the class have taken the drug without it actually being prescribed to them. Don’t forget, this is a very rough estimate. There could be nobody in the class who has done this drug.  I find it extremely sad that some people resort to this method for achieving a college degree. There are instances where the student cannot be entirely blamed for their choices. For example there could be outside pressure from parents or the potential of losing a scholarship if one does not perform well enough in school. If anyone feels they might be addicted to any type of drug, whether it be related to “study drugs” or not, I highly urge you to contact the Centre County Drug and Alcohol Intervention board at (814) 355-6786 or visit their website at

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9 thoughts on “Think Twice About Using Adderall

  1. Caroline Sorrentino

    I agree with you!! I have never used adderall (because I don’t need it), but my friends and my boyfriend have when they took finals or the SAT/ACT. My one friend as well as my boyfriend increased their ACT/SAT scores by significant amounts when they took the drug though, so at times it could seem promise in a “desperate times call for desperate measures” moment. Here is an article someone wrote about what people who don’t need adderall don’t understand.

  2. mld5569

    This article caught my eye because I have a handful of friends who have used this drug when they do not have an actual medical need for it. In one of my previous classes I had a group discussion and we argued whether using adderall for study purposes when you do not have an attention disorder is considered academic integrity. It doesn’t specifically give you the answers to your homework, tests, and quizzes, but it gives you an advantage that the average student does not have. CBS actually wrote an article about this subject. I’ll share the link in case you want to check it out.

  3. Audrey Elyse Sakhnovsky

    I was very interested in this post because of an english project I had to do on the study drug in which we had a deliberation with students sharing their opinions on whether or not this use of unprescribed adderall is becoming somewhat of an epidemic in college students. In my opinion, using it to excel in schoolwork is most definitely a form of cheating. Obviously, because there are plenty of people in our generation with a legitimate medical need for this drug, a huge problem is enforcement and regulation of adderall usage in student populations. Anyone thinking about using the drug even as just a study aid, which I obviously advise against, is facing a lot more risks than they would be if they decided to just not take it and have their grade suffer in turn. Here is a link to a website discussing the dangers of taking unprescribed adderall.

  4. Abigail Louise Edwards


    This was a very good topic to blog about because of how many students are taking this drug when it is unprescribed. It is truly sad. But I am curious about the opposite effects. I had some friends in high school who took Adderall and they hated it because it did not help them at all, it actually made them feel sleepy and they did worse on their test that day. With that said, people have to be very careful with this drug, like alcohol it effects everyone differently. If someone hasn’t been prescribed or diagnosed even one pill could effect them in a very negative way, more than just getting bad grades.

  5. Hannah Morgan

    This post was really interesting, as it seems like the use of adderall has skyrocketed in the last couple years. Some of the top students from my high school started to use the drug in college because they felt they would fall behind without it. This is a horrible reason to start using adderall, given that it could easily lead to a lifelong dependance on the drug. I’ve even seen reports over the last couple of years of parents convincing doctors to prescribe their kids adderall without legitimate cause, just because they weren’t performing well at school. This post definitely shed some light on a serious issue.

  6. Evan Michael Wentzel

    This post is really good about warning of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. This is a major problem in the US and your post helps to show the consequences of taking adderal when you are not prescribed it, and how it becomes even more dangerous when mixed with alcohol. I hope it makes an impact on people who are or might be thinking about abusing prescription drugs.

  7. Sean Kyle Reilly

    Hey Nathan!

    Although it is very important to not become reliant on drugs such as adderall, it is important that if someone does chose to go down this road, they at least do some research into it. There are many alternative methods of improving attentiveness and memory performances, some possibly even cheaper than adderall itself. Whether they are man-made drugs, or more naturally occurring solutions, the use of these treatments should be thoroughly researched before hand.

    For example, when taken in conjunction with one another, the combination of L-theanine (an amino acid commonly found in teas) and Caffeine (a drug, also found commonly in teas) improved accuracy, alertness, and speed in tests of recognition and information processing (

    It is up to the user of these products to be responsible for their own health and making crucial decisions as to whether or not these benefits truly outweigh any short, or long, term costs.

    I found your post to be very informative on the topic of adderall, and wish you the best of luck with the rest of the semester!

    1. Nathan O'brien Post author

      Hey Sean!

      Thanks for responding to my post! I’m glad that you mentioned alternative methods to enhancing your overall academic performance. I think it’s difficult to draw the line on what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding brain enhancing supplements. Obviously, if someone has serious trouble focusing in the classroom, an Adderall prescription would probably be beneficial. I see no problem with people consuming L-theanine and caffeine to boost their performance, mainly because it is considered safe and has very few side effects. My roommate during the summer semester took these sketchy “brain pills” he got off of the internet every day. He told me he had no idea what was in them and they were not approved by the FDA. I just feel as though doctors are prescribing Adderall to way to many people without fully understanding their patients and the side affects that it can induce.

  8. Mackenzie French

    Hi, I thought I’d comment on your blog since I agree with your argument. Adderall is a controversial drug and has become very popular among high school and college students. I can personally relate, since some of my close friends have been prescribed adderall over these past few years; specifically my best friend. She went to the doctor because she wasn’t getting good grades and had a hard time focusing in class. Her conditions led her doctor to diagnosing her with ADD. She started her off with a low dosage and then gradually built her up to a higher dose. She was prescribed two years ago and I can say that my best friend is a complete different person than she was back then. She of course is still my best friend, but things about her have changed. Yes, she has done way better in school but her personality and energy level has gone down. At times it’s like talking to a ghost, she just isn’t fully there. She also lost a ton of weight. Doctors and scientists don’t know what the long term effects are of this drug and in this generation the drug is being handed out like it’s candy. Based off my personal experience with my friend, I think their should be more tests involved before diagnosing someone and I also think attention should be brought to this situation. College students are relying on adderall for studying and taking exams, even when they are not prescribed. How could that possibly be good?

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