Stimulant Abuse with College Students

Throughout the United States college students are abusing a various amount of stimulants to try and improve their study habits and therefore their grades. Most often abused is the well know ADHD drug known as Adderall. “Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.” These effects allow students to stay awake for much longer periods of time without needing sleep or rest.

Many college students are abusing these medications because they are so readily available on campus. College students nationwide report buying their drugs off of other students, often being offered them before a big test comes around. Some students are even using these drugs prior to entering college. According to the the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 20012, 7.6  percent of high school seniors were using Adderall without a prescription. That is higher than any other prescription medication. Universities and colleges need to do more to protect young adults from the dangers of illicit stimulant use and to educate them about the harms and dangers of such drugs.

stimulants in colleges

Students use stimulants to keep them alert to enhance their academic performance, although the perceived benefits are questionable. Many students will often become mentally dependent on these drugs.

“The vast majority of the evidence shows no cognitive improvements with the use of stimulants when compared with placebo in healthy individuals. In short, students who think simply popping a pill will improve their grades or give them new-found academic abilities are sorely mistaken,” write Dr. Daniel Rosenfield, CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Dr. Paul Hebert and coauthors.

“Abuse of prescription medications such as methylphenidate and atomoxetine has been estimated at an alarming rate ranging from 5% to 35%. Without action, some of our best and brightest minds are at risk,” they state.

The biggest way to combat such drug use is to keep the populous educated about the risks associated with such drugs.

Adderall and Ritalin are DEA Schedule II substances. What this means it that they have a  very high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. They are considered dangerous, not as dangerous as heroin but more dangerous than Valium. The common side effects of Adderall and Ritalin are:

  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dry mouth

Despite these warnings and with a strict regulation by the DEA students still feel that it is not a dangerous substance. Only  around 2 percent of students feel that it should be considered very dangerous by the DEA. Even worse, 81% of students surveyed say that they don’t believe the substance is harmful at all and should not be considered dangerous. Some ever believe it should be legalized to the general public.

Studying and college is hard work, no one is saying that stuff is easy. But to turn to meth’s younger brother for help seems a bit intense. We all remember the famous “Saved by the Bell” episode where Jessie starts abusing stimulants to get good grades. Now look at Jessie, have you seen “Showgirls”? Things haven’t been going to well for her, is it the stimulants to blame? No one can say for sure.

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