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Adderall: use and abuse

Julie Raffensperger
Associate Features Editor

Many of you have been there, whether you are freshman or “super seniors.”  The birds are beginning to chirp and you are just about to finish page fifteen of that awful research paper you have been dreading for weeks. Although you are on your sixth cup of coffee, your eyes cannot help but to droop while your brain threatens to shut down completely.
The immense workload of a college students goes without saying. While expected, it can still leave you feeling completely worn out. Some students will resort to coffee while others knock back a Five Hour Energy drink in order to keep up with the ridiculous pace of college. However, a quick caffeine fix will not always suffice.

Depending on dosage, size, shape, and color of the pill may vary.

Although some people truly need it for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), others use it because they feel as though it is the only way their work will get done. Either way, the number of students resorting to Adderall (Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine) is becoming more prevalent, especially in college.
“This is a society where we are expected to remain focused and still for prolonged periods of time. Some people are just not hard wired that way. In order to keep up with the challenge college brings, ADHD students need these drugs,” Dr. David Sneed of Austin Family Medicine said. Some students fear that they will undoubtedly fail without these pills.
When talking with senior Ashley Henderson, she had this to say: “Adderall has helped me tremendously in the classroom, with work, and being a student athlete. When you are diagnosed with ADHD, it truly keeps you focused and able to get everyday tasks done. It basically makes little folders in your brain so you can better organize your thoughts . It’s actually something I need fully.” It is clear that Adderall has proven to be beneficial for those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, but what about those who use the drug recreationally?

This graph is a national survey on drug use and health done in 2006 – 2007 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

A USA Today college article by Lauren Watkins states, “An individual with normal levels of dopamine and norepinephrine and who is not considered to have ADHD or ADD may experience extended periods of intense focus, a loss of desire for sleep, and a sense of euphoria similar to the effects of cocaine or speed under the influence of Adderall due to an overflow in the brain of neurotransmitters.” Additionally, students often begin taking this drug because they do not wish to be at a disadvantage. If other students are taking it, it can cause them to feel as though taking the pills will just level out the playing field.
The issue is one of controversy because many people see positive results in the classroom, while others see health risks. Experts say that “one in 10 students abuse Adderall…to handle the workload of college courses.” This number will surely rise, and consequentially expectations for students may increase. The more people that take the drug recreationally, the more potential there is to hurt students in the long run.

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