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Campuses need to tackle growing study drug abuse

The expectations placed upon college students have been steadily increasing, causing many to search for new ways to keep up with demands. While countless students are increasing the number of hours they spend studying, some cave in and turn to stimulants to assist them in reaching society’s expectations. Study drugs are quickly becoming common aids in academia and this burgeoning trend needs to end. 

Adderall, which is often used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can improve alertness and prevent fatigue. Many students use Adderall prior to exams in an attempt to increase studying habits and thus improve their grades. 

According to a study by The Treatment Helpline, 25 percent of college students admitted to using Adderall to assist them in their studies. 

Because Adderall is a prescription drug, many students have contrived an inaccurate sense of security around it. What most do not realize is Adderall is considered to be a Schedule-II substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency, and those caught using or selling the drug illegally can incur a sentence of up to five years in prison and $20,000 in fines. 

There are also many side effects that come with consuming the drug. Extreme exhaustion and depression are two of the short-term effects and the extended use of Adderall can lead to cardiac arrest, comas and paranoia. 

Despite the risks, students are still relying on the drug to help them achieve their goals. However, according to The Treatment Hotline the average GPA for college students abusing Adderall is 3.0 or lower. 

The stimulant apparently does not help at all with improving one’s grades. A Boston University senior said, “When I took it, I would focus better and be able to work for long spans of time without getting distracted, but I would also get super-jittery, have a decrease in appetite … There’s really no need for it.”

Colleges have tutoring and counseling centers available for any student who feels they are struggling in their classes. There are multiple ways for a student to improve their performance in school but turning to a drug is not one of them. Unless prescribed to you by a doctor, using study drugs is abuse.

Adderall is not the answer to acing exams. Learning how to focus and getting the most out of studying is the only way for true success. Taking a pill will not magically improve your IQ, and it can lead to serious health issues.

Addiction is not something to be taken lightly, and the fact that students are developing this dependence to be successful in college is disheartening. There are many places to seek help, including USF’s Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling Center, and students should not hesitate to pursue assistance.


Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass