College Students and The "Smart Drug" Epidemic

College Students and The "Smart Drug" Epidemic

College students have found a new way to study that is much more effective than the library. However, it’s also illegal and dangerous, and is an issue that has raised much concern in recent years. Using and/or selling prescription medications without a prescription is a felony, and many college students fail to realize that. Several of the using students do not want to give up their super-powered cram sessions for the sake of the law. Smart drugs, study drugs, or what scientists call ‘cognitive enhancers’ like Adderall or Ritalin are being taken by college students with no medical need for them; they are taken simply as a study aid.

First hand users who have been brave enough to talk about the epidemic say that the drugs help them focus, sit still, and remain motivated about studying and doing homework. Adderall is the most popular drug on college campuses nationwide, known simply as ‘Addy’ by the students. It gives them more brainpower and allows them to study for long periods of time without getting tired or bored. Many people might think that if it helps them do better in school, that they might have an attention problem and actually need the drugs prescribed. However, most of them are just normal young adults who don’t want to study or who would rather be out having fun.

When it comes time to hit the books, these kids pop a pill, which they’ve bought from someone on campus or gotten an illegal prescription, and study until they know everything that they need to learn. Kids prefer these pills to caffeine and energy drinks, because there is no crash and they don’t feel jittery or anxious like they would from drinking coffee or soda to wake themselves up. These pills can be found all over campuses across the country, and generally cost about $5 a pill, regardless of which one you want. If it’s exam week, the costs can go as high as $25 a pill because of supply and demand.

And who are the biggest suppliers to colleges? Kids with legitimate ADD or ADHD conditions or diagnoses that sell their medication to other students to make a quick buck. One student that was interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR) has been on Adderall since high school, but does not like to take it unless he has to. His monthly 60 pills that are supposed to be taken twice a day are giving his friends a little boost in their studies. He says that he personally doesn’t like to take them, and doesn’t see a point in actually selling them, so he just gives them away in most cases.

However, these drugs can be addictive, and have serious side effects. They are not great study aids at all, and can make people feel like they’re less than good even with good grades because they’re not doing the work on their own. One girl talked of how she lost her own coping skills to Adderall, so she quit using it and has done just fine studying and doing her work on her own. This ‘study drug’ habit is a well known epidemic plaguing colleges nationwide, and unfortunately is one that is going to be hard to stop.

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