-Mayah Taylor, MA
The life of a college student is a challenging one. Midterms, finals, quizzes, 10+ page papers, or that big project they’ve worked on the whole semester on. Many students who are faced with this can often feel overwhelmed. In order to excel and not flunk out, students turn to “study drugs.” Study drugs are prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin that are used inappropriately to increase mental focus and productivity for the purpose of studying. Used without a prescription, these drugs can be dangerous-not to mention illegal. 1 in 5 college students reports using study drugs to get a short-term boost of energy for those dreaded all-nighters.
The study drugs that students use are none other than stimulant drugs that are typically prescribed for those diagnosed with ADHD. This includes Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, and Vyvanse. The reason so many students turn to these drugs for misuse in their college days are because these drugs can help them stay awake, focus, and study. This not only affects students who are not diagnosed with ADHD, but also the students who are diagnosed with ADHD. Often times, students who are diagnosed with ADHD and have access to their medications will be asked to sell or trade their prescription by others.
Many students who misused prescriptions like Adderall or other ADHD medications do not realize that to misuse these drugs are highly dangerous as well as highly addictive. Misuse of Adderall can lead to dangerous side effects such as blurred vision, paranoia, convulsions, hallucinations, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, reduced circulation, nausea, irritability, sexual dysfunction, and even death. Like any other drug it is very possible to overdose on Adderall. An overdose can lead to a heart attack, liver failure, or a stroke. Additionally, if ADHD medications like Adderall are mixed with other substances, like alcohol, the risk of a fatal overdose increases.
Prescription drugs do not have to be the answer to a college student’s stressful life. Who needs the added stress of obtaining the drug, the dangerous side-effects and legal issues, anyway? There are healthier alternatives like setting time aside each day to relax by yourself. Yoga, for example, has been proven to reduce stress and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
It is important for all to know that when these drugs are misused it is easy for the user to become dependent, and continue misuse due to the withdrawal symptoms that occur when stopping the drug abruptly. Please educate yourself and if you have children or loved ones in college, do educate them on the dangers of study drugs.
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