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) (DrugAbuse.com). 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 mad, 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 (DrugAbuse.com).
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 http://centrecountypa.gov/index.aspx?NID=329