Adderall abuse among college students

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Each year college students will go through midterms and finals, a week that is filled with stress, all-nighters, a blurry numbness in the eyes, and an all-encompassing exhaustion. With hundreds of pages to digest, deadlines, procrastination, and real life responsibilities, many students find aid in prescription drugs and Adderall, known as a “Smart Drug,” has quickly become the stimulant of choice.

Used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Adderall is being used by students to help them stay alert and focused so they can better take their exams. In a survey study of students at 119 American colleges, given in the journal “Addiction,” it was reported that nearly 25% of students enrolled in high-pressure universities had used Adderall as a study stimulant. Costing a couple dollars on most campuses, Adderall is incredibly easy to afford and easily found, making it a popular alternative to a cup of coffee when you need that extra study boost.

While the drug does work to calm a stressful lifestyle, Adderall can be incredibly dangerous if abused, especially when combined with alcohol. The drug is classified as Schedule II, meaning that it carries with it a high possibility of abuse, and severe psychological and physical dependence. If used over a long period of time, Adderall ceases to be a stimulant one only takes during midterms, and addiction to it is very similar to that of cocaine addiction. Once a person has been using the drug long enough, they begin to think they need Adderall to do well in life. Students get so used to it that they often feel as if they cannot do well in classes without it and are filled with a fear of failure. However, while on the drug many people feel as if their creativity has been shut off. The reason for the lack of creativity while on Adderall is because the drug allows one a more rigid and structured mindset, which happens to be the opposite of the loose form of creativity.  Other symptoms of Adderall abuse and withdrawal include nightmares, depression, hunger, and fatigue.

If the drug is prescribed and the person is taking the correct dosage, Adderall has little negative side effects in terms of health. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration, once abused, Adderall can lead to “rapid heartbeat palpitations, increased blood pressure, restlessness, insomnia, seizures, depression, headache, and stroke.” If one continues to abuse Adderall over a long period of time, they can even develop liver problems.

While it’s always nice to get a little boost with your work, Adderall’s risk of long-term dependency just isn’t worth the short-term payoff. The emotional damage from feeling as if you are worthless without the drug is far more damaging than putting forth the extra work you’ll need to get that good grade.


  1. jzavenger

    October 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Hi- I think your article is off based and needs to be more pointed to the fraudulent use that you refer to. Do college students buy these drugs for the reasons you list? Absolutely! What your article doesn’t say, is that these people have now effected people, such as myself, by limiting the supply that is available. Today in MA, I called 15 pharmacies to see if they have my dosage of Adderall and they had none of my dosage or any other dosage for that matter. I am hearing mixed reports as to why but there has been one reason that kept coming up and its people like students that have now adversely effected the people that need it the most. Furthermore, the effects listed within your article are ones that come with short term use. For a person that really needs the drug, these side effects normally go away after a week or so. However, I am happy that you are even writing about it and I just wish you had gave the article more of a stinging punch to the reader.

  2. TBone69

    October 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    This drug should be pulled off the market by the FDA. I have personally seen entire family’s be completely destroyed by this drug. If abused the person abusing Adderall physically and mentally change. It happened to my Wife which was prescribed by a Doc then she started snorting it and stayed up for four days strait, then on a Monday morning My now estranged wife crashed the car on the Interstate, the cops don’t have devices to check if she was on the devil drug but that is what caused the crash. I am no longer w/ the Woman I loved because she is not the Wife I married. This all happened within 2 months and destroyed 6 years of a loving marriage and I will bet I’m not the only one who lost a spouse, daughter, son, ECT to this legal evil drug. It pains me to think that a pill could do so much damage in so little time. I now have a broken heart and a wife that I will never see again…

  3. Brandt Hardin

    October 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Prescription Drugs have robbed far too many people of their dignity and lives. Big Pharma is the REAL drug cartel in North America. Their overmedicating of the American public through obscene advertising leads to nearly 100,000 deaths per year! Prescription drugs are more dangerous than any felony drug substance in the world including heroin, cocaine and even alcohol combined. Read about this issue and what’s killing people at

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