Substance abuse has been an ongoing concern for high schools and colleges for decades, but the demographics of that abuse have made a definite shift in recent years. Now, students developing addictions are the high-achieving students who are focused on their grades and their academic performance. Drugs in question have also shifted – from illegal substances like cocaine to prescription stimulants now used for non-medical purposes.
The Adderall Attraction
Adderall is a drug commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. The drug works by targeting the area of the brain responsible for decision-making and attention. It calms people diagnosed with ADHD so they can focus on and complete tasks.
Individuals who do not have ADHD and take Adderall find a very different effect. The drug in non-ADHD users provides them with a long-lasting energy jolt that can help them push through marathon study sessions and hyper-focus for examinations. Those potential effects have made Adderall and similar stimulant drugs the new “study aid” on high school and college campuses nationwide.
The Adderall Addiction
While Adderall may provide attractive short-term benefits to stressed-out students, the long-term effects may be much more damaging. Adderall is listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Class II Controlled Substance. This means Adderall is one of the most addictive drugs circulating today, falling in the same category as morphine and cocaine.
As students become addicted to the stimulant, they may see numerous physical and mental side effects from the drug, including:
Anxiety and agitation
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Shortness of breath
As the number of students using stimulants like Adderall has increased, the number of emergency room visits related to stimulant use has also been on the rise. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there were more than 13,000 E.R. visits related to stimulants in the U.S. in 2005. By 2010, that number had increased to more than 31,000.
Also concerning is the seemingly large number of stimulant users who are combining these drugs with other substances like caffeine, cocaine, or methamphetamines. This fact is particularly troublesome in light of the fact that interactions between these drugs can be dangerous and even deadly. Some students are also combining stimulants with alcohol use, as they discover they can drink for longer without passing out if they use stimulants during their binge.
Adderall is a legitimate drug that provides medical benefit to those diagnosed with ADHD. However, non-medical use of this addictive and potentially dangerous drug is becoming a huge problem for schools and parents across the country.