Adderall: the risky “study buddy”

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Graphic designed by Samantha Jacobs

On college campuses, students use Adderall as a “quick fixer” when it comes to studying, but that’s not why this stimulant was developed or why it’s prescribed.

The increase in non-prescribed users of Adderall between the ages of 18-24, according to the results from an informal questioning conducted at Cabrini College and other nearby colleges, is extreme.

Why do students think that using Adderall as a “study buddy” is ok?

Results from the informal questioning explained how students used “addies” to improve academically, but the awareness of their knowledge of abusing Adderall is startling.

Non-prescribed students use this drug for various purposes, but they disregard that it is illegal to take a controlled substance without a prescription.

How does taking Adderall affect someone?

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, also referred to as central nervous system stimulants. These stimulants affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Some students take Adderall with a doctor’s prescription.“I was first prescribed Adderall when I was a freshman in high school. It decreased my appetite and increased my metabolism so I lost a good amount of weight. It also made my mouth really dry so I drank a lot of water,” Jenna Labes, freshman undecided business student at Saint Joseph’s University, said.

Other students take Adderall without a prescription. “I have never been prescribed Adderall; however, I have taken it before. When I took it, my appetite was suppressed throughout the duration of the day, I essentially had tunnel vision in regards to getting my work and studying done. I definitely benefited from the effects of it, but I would not take it unless in complete despair,” Todd Walker, junior biology major, said.

The side effects of Adderall vary and depend on each person’s use of other medications or health problems.

Doctors are concerned that so many students are unaware of the dangers of abusing Adderall.

“A big issue concerning the abuse of Adderall arises when a patient takes the medication without a prescription from their doctor. Taking this abusive drug without the awareness of its side effects could end up being fatal if someone takes it and has a heart condition. Whether or not the individual knows about their heart condition, the issue at hand is that they do not know how Adderall could put them at risk,” Dr. Robert Lawlor, a physician at Devon Family Practice, said.

Why students take Adderall without a prescription

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Some students try taking adderall in college to help them focus on their school work and many assignments. CAELAN WORYK / PHOTO FOR PUB

Many college students believe it is understandable to take this medication when there is an endless amount of work to be done in an environment that is constantly over scheduled and chaotic.

“I do think that some students are aware of the potential dangers of misusing stimulant drugs. But overall, I would have to say that the general student population is oblivious to the facts about Adderall,” Walker said.

Those startling results have experts worried about this increasing behavior of using a Schedule II Substance without a prescription. The Drug Enforcement Administration refers to a Schedule II Substance as a chemical or substance with high potential for abuse.

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, individuals with and without ADHD misuse stimulants.

The survey explained the importance of young adults having knowledge of how Adderall can impact their health. Both prescribed and non-prescribed users are at risk if they are misusing these medications. Therefore, each of those target populations need to know how the drug can impact them in different ways depending on whether or not they have ADHD.

How do students without a prescription for Adderall obtain this drug?

52 out of 60 non-prescribed student users of ADHD medication admitted to obtaining Adderall from a friend.

How do prescribed users abuse their own medication?

If a student who is constantly taking a higher dosage of Adderall than prescribed, they may need a higher dosage prescribed or they might have an addiction.

“Personally, when I drink coffee while I am on Adderall my heartbeat increases, which is uncomfortable and scary at times. Caffeine increases Adderall’s effect on a person, making the drug react in a way it is not meant for,” Labes said.

Raising awareness throughout college campuses of the dangers of misusing ADHD medications is important.

Students must remember that even though taking Adderall, for whatever purpose, seems to be the “norm,” there are potential dangers that could put them at risk if they decide to take the medication.
“No addict tries to be an addict, it just happens because they are not aware of the consequences of drug,” Labes said.

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