It may have a cute nickname – Addy – and a loyal following, but there’s nothing cute about abusive use of Adderall.
Abuse of Adderall is not just dangerous; just like steroids in sports, when illegally abused in order to gain an edge, it amounts to cheating,
As THE HOYA reported today, Adderall has found fans on the Hilltop. Somewhere below 10 percent of students regularly employ the substance to gain an edge in their classes and engage in lengthy study sessions with near perfect focus. According to student sources, Adderall is easily available on campus and is not prohibitively expensive. For some, it is a routine way to deal with an overwhelming burden of work.
Adderall is a prescription drug stimulant often prescribed for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But it has also garnered a following in colleges nationwide as a “study drug.” It is regularly abused for its ability to provide students with greater concentration while staying awake for inhuman numbers of hours.
First, this is a problem because of the inherent dangers of misusing this prescription drug. According to the Food and Drug Administration, because the drug contains amphetamines, users can become highly dependent upon it. Its side effects can include temporary vision loss, involuntary muscle spasms, mental confusion and vomiting, among others. Long-term abuse can lead to cardiovascular failure, and some behavioral therapists and health care providers advocate treating an Adderall addiction with the same urgency as cocaine or meth dependence.
And Adderall abusers are not the only students who suffer – non-users are also affected. When a student uses the drug without a prescription to gain an advantage, it is a form of cheating that is not fair to other students, and runs against the Academic Honor Code. Prescription drug abuse goes far beyond the too common – albeit still potentially dangerous – use of excessive caffeine and sugar to pull all-nighters.
As use becomes common, the temptation is stronger for non-users to join the trend in hopes of keeping up with their peers swayed by this study drug. Before long, a group of a few users can turn into a campus-wide trend.
Georgetown should do more to curtail student abuse of the focus-enhancing drug. Currently a clause concerning the abuse of prescription drugs is not explicitly found in the Student Code of Conduct. This would be a good place to start. After other recent drug-related incidents, Georgetown should be doing everything it can to discourage illegal and prescription drug abuse on campus.
University action, however, needs to move beyond mere condemnation. The dangers of Adderall should be broadly publicized, especially as finals season approaches. Those who have become dependent on the drug need to get help to break the habit.
For many, Adderall could seem like a quick fix reserved for the unstable and time-strapped students in our midst. But now is the time for abuse of this study drug to become a concern for the whole community. Professors and peers should lend a helping hand to ensure overburdened students do not fall victim to self-destructive behavior like drug abuse. The alternative will only end poorly.