Students take Adderall to cope and focus on university workload


By Rebekah Frank

When trying to juggle work, school, family, sports, social life, clubs and everything else, college students may become overwhelmed.

Coping with all the expectations and responsibilities, some students resort to drug abuse. The drug of choice for many students is Adderall, which is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. According to Coalition Against Drug Abuse, Adderall triggers the release of adrenaline which increases the heart rate and the blood flow which assists those with ADHD and narcolepsy to improve their behavior, focus and concentration.

Users of Adderall have often reported increases in their focus and concentration. These effects are what make Adderall attractive to college students. College students began sharing their prescriptions with friends and strangers alike as a way to study better.

According to Brigham Young University, a study was done to show how many students tweeted about Adderall and studying between November 2011 and May 2012. According to the research, there were 213,633 tweets concerning studying with the drug, with an average of about 930 per day.

According to the research done by University of Kentucky graduate student Scott Jacobs, Adderall is, “one of the most frequently misused medications in the United States.”

According to NPR, one student found that after taking Adderall she was less fidgety and less prone to distraction while studying. “I would just be completely channeled into what I was doing,” she said.

However, Adderall does have a downside. According to Martha Farah, director at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, although this medicine seems to be a wonder drug, it can cause sleep deprivation, rare heart diseases and can be addictive.

According to Medical Billing and Coding, an estimated 7 million people in the United States admitted to abusing Adderall in 2006, and college students are twice as likely to abuse Adderall.

College students use Adderall to help them cope with all the responsibilities and expectations that are placed on them. However, using Adderall does not help as much as students may think it does.

According to Tricia Hughes, director of the EWU Health, Wellness, and Prevention center, data from 2012 showed that the use of prescription stimulants that were not prescribed to its users was less than five percent. Hughes also said that studies indicated Adderall usage is not linked to better grades. In fact students who abuse prescription stimulants have lower GPAs in highschool and college, than those who do not.

“Studies have found that prescription stimulants do not enhance learning or thinking ability when taken by people who do not actually have ADHD. Also, research has also shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants actually have lower GPAs in high school and college than those who don’t,” said Hughes.

EWU Detective Quincy Burns would like to remind students that it is illegal to use someone else’s prescription, and it is a felony to sell prescription medicine.

During the end of winter quarter 2013, EWU sophomore Matthew Taylor was feeling overwhelmed from the pressure of finals and trying to fit in amongst his friends. His friends were using Adderall and telling him about it, and Taylor began to consider using it as an aid in his studies.

“I thought about using [Adderall] to help me with my school, but I didn’t because I wanted to be able to say I did it by myself without cheating,” said Taylor.