Neuroenhancers are very prevalent, both legally and illegally, on the Ferris campus.
It’s finals week and there are chemistry and calculus exams looming the following morning. To help study, will you turn to coffee, soda…or prescription drugs?
Students on college campuses across the nation are looking to Adderall and similar pills commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to help them concentrate on their school work. This issue is present at Ferris just as it is on most other campuses.
Matt McCoy, a Ferris junior in the construction management program, recently shared his thoughts about Adderall, which has been prescribed to him since he was in junior high.
“I took it today and was in the library for about six hours studying,” said McCoy.
Adderall is a form of amphetamine that keeps the mind awake and alert. McCoy compared it to drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, only taking a pill that lasts for ten to twelve hours. He said he will usually take his prescription in the morning so that it does not keep him up at night.
Adderall has a presence on many college campuses for these effects that students see as a way to help cope with a workload. McCoy said that he even saw Adderall being sold in one of his classes between two students who did otherwise not know each other.
“The kid just walked across the classroom and asked the other one, ‘do you know where I can get any Adderall?’” said McCoy. “It went down right there, he made the phone call and everything…the teacher walked by and had no idea what was going on.”
Adderall is used as both a way to concentrate and as a recreational drug. It can be taken in pill form as well as snorted, the latter being the way students use it in a recreational sense.
While McCoy uses his prescription sparingly so that he does not become dependant on it, other students buy pills illegally when they do not have a prescription.
A student speaking under the condition of anonymity who uses Adderall periodically and without a prescription said, “I have used it for about two years, but only when I need it. You can definitely get addicted…and when you come down from it you feel very sluggish, it is physically exhausting on your body.”
The student said that Adderall can sell for between one and four dollars a pill on the “black market,” depending on the strength and type of prescription. Different milligrams are available as well as extended release and rapid release forms.
Both McCoy and the unnamed student attested to the fact that when coming down from the pill, feelings of edginess and anxiousness are common. Despite these side effects, the drug remains as popular as ever.
“It definitely helps if you need to study or crack out a paper,” said the anonymous student.
McCoy said that there are many different forms of medication for ADD. Others include Concerta and Focalin, both serving a similar purpose to adderall.
“I have been on seven different prescriptions…I was like a test rat for my ADD doctor,” said McCoy.
The Guardian Weekly, an international newspaper published in Britain, ran an article in September titled, “Can popping pills make you smarter?” A Harvard student named Alex was interviewed about his use of Adderall to help keep him motivated for his intense workload.
“The experience that neuroenhancement offers is…about squeezing out an extra few hours to get a B instead of a B- on the final exam in a lecture class where you spent half your time texting,” said the article.
The Guardian also cited a University of Michigan study which found that 4.1 percent of American undergraduate students had used prescription stimulants for off-label use.
While many have taken a critical eye toward the abuse of this drug, students seem to still turn to it to help concentrate and get work done. As both Ferris students mentioned, there are obvious positive effects, but many downsides exist as well.
More information on Adderall can be found on web sites such as pubmed.gov and other medicine related sources.