Students at colleges and universities who want that extra boost to stay up late and prepare for exams are turning to the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)medication Adderall, while others are abusing the substance as a way to get a drug-induced high. All are at risk for serious side effects, say experts.
A recent article highlights the ways Adderall is being abused on campuses nationwide and the side effects the prescription medication is linked to. The problem seems worse for students who are enrolled in their college or university full-time, as compared to part-time, suggest researchers.
Adderall is approved by the FDA for ADHD and narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant and the effects for can be serious. Some symptoms include diminished appetite and anorexia, weakness, dizzy spells, pain in the abdomen, increased blood pressure, insomnia and episodes of elevated heartbeat.
Experts have compared its effects to those of cocaine, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders suggests that medications like Adderall can be linked to similar symptoms of panic disorder and related phobic disorders. Long-term use of medications like Adderall may be addictive, and can be linked to sexual dysfunction and other problems.
Some students have reported being offered large amounts of cash for illegal distribution of their Adderall prescription, with students begging for a few pills to get through a tough coursework project. Other students are acquiring the prescription with intent to sell to students.
For those who have a legal and medically-based prescription, the pressure can be intense from friends and peers to share their pills. Reports have circulated of students making more than $1000 a week during intense periods of coursework for selling Adderall.
Also nicknamed the study drug, Adderall is leading some university officials to question whether or not drug testing should be part of the process for exams, and if students may use excuses like being out of Adderall if they fail to complete an assignment or perform successfully.