17 Nov Adderall Becoming Abused Drug on College Campuses, With Dangerous Side Effects
The ability to focus intensely and stay awake for hours could be considered a study requirement on many college campuses – but recently more students have been reported to abuse the stimulant drug Adderall, with serious potential for consequences.
A 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey said that students in the 18 to 22 year range, the typical college age, had a risk of abusing Adderall two times higher than their peers who were not attending college. The survey, with results published in the journal Addiction, also said that one-fourth of students enrolled in the 119 U. S. universities studied had used Adderall to help them study.
Adderall, the brand name for dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, was developed in the 1990s for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is a Schedule II controlled substance. A prescription is required to acquire it, and it has a high potential for addiction and abuse. Unauthorized possession of Adderall means a student could be penalized with jail time under the Controlled Substances Act.
Adderall is especially dangerous because it can be acquired at a relatively low cost per pill, and for many students, can aid in concentration ability. However, dangerous side effects include having a heart attack or stroke, developing high blood pressure, seizures, aggressive actions or psychosis. For some students who already have heart problems, Adderall is linked to immediate death.
As the students continue to use Adderall, tolerance develops, and they must increase their dosage to get the desired effects. Adderall abuse may also open the door to students experimenting with substances like methamphetamine and ecstasy.
Sometimes called a “cognitive steroid,” withdrawal from Adderall can include severe fatigue, depression and abnormal levels of hunger. Still, the perceived benefits of Adderall – like being able to concentrate for long periods of time during studying or exams, and staying up for long periods – make the drug a popular trend among many college campuses.
Experts fear that students may consider using a controlled substance drug to help with studying as an acceptable action, if it is in the name of boosting their academic performance. Some university officials also fear that students will not be able to function once they leave college, because taking a pill won’t reduce the life stressors brought on by the workplace and other conditions.
Controlling Adderall can be tricky, because students with ADHD who need the medication should not be refused – yet at the same time, prescriptions should not be given to students who will abuse the drug for purposes such as a study aid or even for weight loss. Not only can many Adderall users manage for long periods without sleeping, some also report a greatly reduced appetite – making it even more appealing among college-aged girls who want to lose weight.
As abuse of the stimulant drug Adderall becomes more widely-known among university officials and health experts, it may encourage more research into teaching college students healthy ways to focus and manage stress, rather than resorting to dangerous prescription drug abuse.
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