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Adderall: Addictive amphetamine not worth the risk



Recreational drugs are illegal, but that doesn’t stop college students from doping-up to increase academic performance. They cheat the system by delving into the underground trade of prescription drugs.

Most students are busy, often with a job, if not more. They are kept up late at night pushing to get as much studying done as possible. And the next day, they drag their drained bodies to class. So it’s no wonder some students turn to Adderall, and similar drugs such as Ritalin and Vyvanse for help.

Abusing drugs is not a smart move in the complex game of “seeking-a-degree.”

Adderall is a prescription drug given to people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. According to the Food and Drug Administration, it is meant to help people with ADHD focus in everyday situations, such as in the classroom or at work.

However, those without ADHD or narcolepsy have been abusing the strong affects of this amphetamine to stay awake at night and complete hours of homework easily. Some use Adderall only on occasion and others use it regularly. How students justify even one use of a drug that was probably obtained illegally, boggles my mind.

As a prescription drug used to treat disorders, Adderall should not be abused as a study aid. It is known to have serious health risks if misused or used over  the course of long periods of time. Students should not be popping unnecessary and damaging drugs just to get more done at night.

Mandi Beck, a freshman psychology major, took Adderall several years ago to treat an ADHD diagnosis.

“(I) took it for a couple months until I could be weaned out. It was horrible and I couldn’t have gotten off fast enough.”

According to Beck, the symptoms of the drug are unpleasant to say the least.

“I felt like a crackhead. I didn’t sleep. I lost several pounds because food was repulsive to me. I was moody and bipolar. I felt like I couldn’t control my moods — one minute I would be happy and the next I would be angry or crying for no reason at all. I was miserable. I was like a different person.”

Needless to say, it’s incredibly stupid for any student to willingly subject themselves to such physical debauchery. While symptoms are different from person to person, it is shocking that people would willingly pump amphetamine into their bodies. If there is any confusion, yes, methamphetamine is included in this group of drugs.

It turned out that Beck was misdiagnosed with ADHD. What she really suffered from was post-traumatic stress disorder. What does that say about our medical system and pharmaceutical companies? Apparently doctors feel fine about handing out this drug like candy.

Adderall has become increasingly accessible. Those with prescriptions are selling the drug to their friends and doctor prescriptions are easy to obtain. An underground network of exchanging extra hours and money has been growing on college campuses across the country.

Aside from the obvious illegality of selling prescription drugs, using Adderall can have serious consequences on the user’s health. Changes in fertility and libido as well as cardiovascular and central nervous system irregularities are among some of its adverse side effects.

Senior social work major Brianna Reinke works as a program instructor at Dave Liddle & Associates where she researches substances, addiction and their effects on the human body and mind. She uses that knowledge to instruct substance-abuse education classes. Reinke estimated about 15 to 20 percent of people she sees are students either at Boise State University or other local institutions.

Reinke described the horrible physical and mental abnormalities experienced while under the influence of amphetamine-based drugs.

“In addition to the characteristic side effects of amphetamines (increased wakefulness, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid and irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, paranoia, aggressiveness, extreme anorexia, memory loss, hallucinations and delusions), Adderall comes with its own range of side effects which include Adderall-induced psychosis and stroke,” she said.

As a sister psychoactive drug to methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine, Adderall is extremely addictive, Reinke said. She strongly advises against the use of Adderall as a study aid.

“The unfortunate truth about Adderall is that it is widely underestimated by the public, specifically by teenagers and young adults,” Reinke said. “Because it is a prescription pill. It is assumed that it must be safe which — when used recreationally — is far from the truth.”

These harmful effects are not worth a few more hours of time to finish homework. Students can work their way through college if they simply manage their time and get some natural health boosts from an amazing wonder called sleep. Maybe it’s time for these college crackheads to put down the pill bottles and pick up a planner.

Facts about Adderall:

  • A once-daily central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine
  • Used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • It can be abused or lead to dependence
  • Possible effects of stimulant drugs include: sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects, stroke and heart attack in adults, increased blood pressure and heart rate, mental (psychiatric) problems, slowing of growth in children, seizures, eyesight changes or blurred vision, headache, decreased appetite, stomach ache, trouble sleeping, weight loss, dry mouth, increased heart beat, nervousness, mood swings and dizziness.


13 Comments on Adderall: Addictive amphetamine not worth the risk

  1. Heisenberg // Oct 3, 2010 at 9:34 am //

    Not all students abuse Adderall. I know someone that gets it prescribed because they have a hard time keeping focused on things, therefore, making it hard to retain what is being said or read. Many abuse it to stay up late but the ones that really need it go through a normal day and sleep at night like anyone else.

  2. sensational journalism strikes yet again. adderall is harmless in prescribed doses. it should go without saying that any drug can be dangerous when used in a recreational context. this is nothing but another excuse for PTA mom's to wear their red badge of ignorance yet again.

  3. Definitely sensationalist and unbalanced. The author writes about the bad experiences of someone with a bad diagnosis who took Adderall, but doesn't get any anecdotes from people with ADHD to balance the article. It gives the reader the feeling that these negative side effects are normal, and promotes the idea that these drugs are eeeevil.

    Yes, Adderall should only be used under the advice of a psychiatrist who can watch for side effects, but a college student who is taking a normal dosage the night before an exam is not going to suffer any adverse harm. It's a lot like coffee in that respect – if someone takes too much, he'll have tremors, increased blood pressure, trouble sleeping, etc. And, of course, any drug has some small % of people that react badly, including common drugs such as caffeine and alcohol.

    Also, by lumping all amphetamines together, the author confuses Adderall (chemical name: amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) with hard drugs like methamphetamine. The former two are the commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD, and have much lower potential for abuse or addiction than methamphetamine. (By the way, dextromethamphetamine and methamphetamine are the same chemical).

  4. to be honest, as a college student I totally understand how a student would justify the use of Adderall. I myself have really consider it. It would be nice not to fall asleep while reading 50 pages of completely dull material. Not that it's right or good for you but I can at least understand where they get the idea.

  5. Perhaps Ms. Ritchie is limiting her label of "crack head" to those who take Adderall illegally, but it sounds very much as if she does not believe ADHD is a condition problematic enough to require a serious stimulant. If that is the case, then I hope no ADHD sufferer is ever unfortunate enough to come under her influence.

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