Universities and colleges need to do more to protect young adults from the dangers of illicit stimulant use and to educate them about harms, argue the authors of an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Students use stimulants to keep them alert to enhance their academic performance, although the perceived benefits are questionable.
“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.