Adderall, a study aid?

Bridget McLaughlin

It’s 10:30 p.m., and in exactly 11 hours you have a statistics test that could make or break your GPA. You can’t afford not to study for even a minute, but staying awake and retaining that much information seems impossible. How are you going to keep your brain engaged for that long?

For an increasing number of college students, the prescription drug Adderall has become the solution to such a problem. The use of this “Ivy League crack,” as it’s sometimes called, has become so prevalent that “60 Minutes” and Katie Couric devoted a whole investigative report to the topic.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Adderall is a stimulant used primarily as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of ADD, or attention deficit disorder, and ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in adults and children by aiding in concentration and focus. This stimulant is usually used to deliver a calming effect for those who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. When people who don’t need it consume it, it has the opposite effect.

“Anyone without ADD or ADHD who takes Adderall or a stimulant like those will feel an intense ability to focus and increased energy. But there are many side effects of the meds,” said Rosemary Ziga, a registered nurse.

Ziga said these side effects include dry mouth, headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, rapid heartbeat, and weight loss. A particularly dangerous aspect of Adderall is that it is highly addictive and known to raise blood pressure, so those who are unaware that they have a pre-existing heart condition can risk serious injury. Just like any drug, if abused or not prescribed directly to the user, legal consequences can occur in the form of jail time and fines for both the dealer and buyer.

“In my psychology class, you can literally just look to your left or right and get the hook up on someone with an Adderall or Ritalin prescription,” said Sam, a sophomore psychology major, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It isn’t super difficult for me to get, and you can sell it for a ton,”

All things considered, it seems as if today’s hectic college curriculum is pushing students toward substance abuse that maximizes both academic potential and health risks. The clock is ticking, those 11 hours are shrinking away, and the question still remains: Adderall or the old fashioned way?

You can contact Bridget McLaughlin at [email protected].