Four exams in one week, multiple papers and assignments due on the same day, endless hours of reading you fell behind in; we have all experienced such atrocities as college students, and with the mounting pressure to do well in school and get straight A’s for an eventual successful job, it is no wonder students have been feeling desperate for something to help achieve success. A “study drug” that will help them focus, study for countless hours, and ace their exams! Who wouldn’t want to swallow a pill with such promising effects?
This is part of the emergent problem in the US; the growing prevalence of the abuse of prescription amphetamines such as Adderall on college campuses. Numerous studies have been conducted recently to discover just how many students are opting to use such a substance to aid in their studies. After surveying students enrolled in 119colleges across America, it was discovered that up to 25% of them have used the drug. Another study performed at BrighamYoung University in Provo, Utah decided to use the social networking site Twitter to access the prevalence of Adderall among young adults. They scanned the website for mentions of the drug, and found “a total of 213,633 tweets” between November 2011 and May 2012, with an increased frequency during final exam periods nationwide! Clearly, from these studies, and even just our own experience as college students, it is evident that the use of Adderall has been on the rise.
So what exactly is Adderall and why is its increasing pervasiveness of such concern? Adderall is amphetamine anddextroamphetamine, both which serve as stimulants to the central nervous system and affect nerves and brain chemicals contributing to hyperactivity and impulse control that is conventionally used as a treatment for attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy. For people who are in need of Adderall for such conditions, it aids in patients ability to focus, pay attention and control behavior. However when abused, and taken without doctor consent, the effects of Adderall can be quite destructive. As a schedule II medication, it is possible to become addicted or develop dependence to the substance. Adderall triggers the release of adrenaline, increases heart rate and flow of the blood to muscles. It’s effect on heart rate can cause cardiovascular problems such as increased blood pressure or disrupted heart rhythm. While short term effects of dryness of the mouth, difficultly sleeping, headaches, or even chest pain may seem as a mere inconvenience to desperate college students, its long term effects are much more daunting. Abuse of Adderall can increase a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke, and cause them to develop mental health disorders such as depression, paranoia and hostility.
Adderall has become one of the most prescribed drugs in the US, and is becoming one of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs on college campuses nationwide. With the availability, affordability, and promising effects of concentration and success in school it is understandable why many college students opt to experiment with the substance. Many people are unaware of the harmful effects, and risks abuse of the substance may pose.
Posted by Kristen Whitehead (3)