britt blog:
web site:

Friday, May 20, 2011

College students using study

"Smart Drugs"

The problem of drugs on campus is nothing new. Most college students drink, but others choose to “party hearty” regardless of the damage they’re knowingly causing their bodies.

A new drug has become prevalent on college campuses, though, but students aren’t taking it to get high—they’re taking it to study.

Smart Drugs are Popular on College Campuses

Adderall is a brand of amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, a prescription medication normally given to children with attention deficit disorder, a vast range of behavioral disorders that typically include symptoms such as poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It’s a powerful stimulant drug, not unlike meth or cocaine. Because it directly affects a pathway in the brain, Adderall has fairly high potential for abuse or addiction.

When it’s prescribed by a doctor and taken as instructed, Adderall can help increase attention span and focus by boosting dopamine levels in the brain. Often referred to by nicknames such as “smart drugs,” “study buddies” and “smart pills,” it has also become one of the most popular drugs on college campuses across the country.

May 17, 2011 NBC Today Show investigation found that college students are becoming addicted to Adderall in increasing numbers because the drug helps them focus while they study and makes it easier to pull all-nighters before exams. It’s also easy to get on campus: an undercover Today Show intern was able to locate a student selling Adderall in a college library within minutes.

College Students Confess Their Experiences with Adderall

One college student confessed to NBC News’ Amy Robach that Adderall allows her to “forget about everything around her” when she’s looking at her textbooks. The student justified her actions by asking, “I figured if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I get the advantage?” during the report that aired on the Today Show.  Another student, who went by the pseudonym Mike, revealed that Adderall has given him a boost to work nonstop for 10 hours a day.

Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall is generally considered safe when it’s taken as prescribed by a doctor, but medical experts warn that it can be very addictive.

One freshman honor student named Aly told Ann Robach that she first took a “smart pill” offered by a friend when she was struggling to keep up with schoolwork. Aly soon became addicted to Adderall, buying several pills every single day. The pills’ side effects came quickly, too. Aly was initially able to concentrate and study, but she soon began suffering from mood swings, insomnia, panic attacks and depression. Ironically, her grades spiraled downward and she was asked to withdraw from her university.

Eventually, Adderall can distort reality and cause users to become psychotic. “They develop paranoia, and so they think people are out to get them, out to hurt them,” Dr. Glen Hanson of the University of Utah College of Pharmacy explained to Utah’s “And it’s not unusual to find heavy users actually look like a schizophrenic.”

“It’s a highly addictive substance and when you play with addictive substances, you ultimately get burned,” Stephen Odom, a drug abuse counselor at Sober Living by the Sea, said during the Today Show report. “For all intents and purposes, Adderall is speed. You’re putting something in your body that’s gonna make you think you’re OK when you’re not. And the next thing you know, you’re gonna be spinning out of control.”