Academic Pill Abuse 101

tired student taking a stimulant drug

College can be stressful. The pressure of exams and deadlines can be too much for some, so an all-nighter or two per week is essential for those trying to keep up. Students used to rely on coffee or soda to stay awake and keep them alert in class, but today the term “stimulant” has taken on new meaning. More frequently these days, students are turning to prescription pills to get through college.

Adderall is all the rage, with many students admitting that everyone they know has tried it at least once. Many believe they couldn’t have made it through college without it. Although some may not know what they’re getting themselves into, most know the dangers involved and abuse the drugs anyway.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is an amphetamine used for a diagnosis of ADHD. It is a psychostimulant, meaning that it stimulates the mind and body. They are also sometimes referred to as “uppers” because they have that quality to them. They produce mental alertness, wakefulness, and increased motion.

Side effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, chest discomfort, delusions, hallucinations, aggression, anger or depression. It can also affect growth rate and can lead to severe weight loss. Additionally, it can bring on headaches, dizziness, nervousness, and rapid heartbeat mixed with lowered blood pressure.

Because it affects dopamine uptake in the brain, it can be used to get high. Overdose is possible even in kids using Adderall under the supervision of a physician. It can lead to heart attack, deadly blood clots, and other circulatory issues, especially when over-exerting oneself.

The effects of withdrawal can be excruciating—hence, its addictive properties. Withdrawal symptoms include mental fatigue, depression, increased appetite, anxiety, agitation, excessive sleep, vivid dreams, and suicidal tendencies. Symptoms can last for days, sometimes weeks or months.

Legal Consequences Of Adderall Abuse

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, in the same category as morphine, cocaine, and opium. This means that it is prohibited by law except when issued under a license, due to its high potential for addiction.

Distribution or sale of the drug can be prosecuted as a felony, depending on the quantity. Yet college students continue to use it and share or sell it to friends. The profit is high, as they usually sell for $5 per pill.

Not only do students deal on campus, they often feign ADHD in order to get a prescription from a doctor. Diagnosis is typically done with a paper test called the Brown Adult ADD test. The student is asked to bring it home and fill it out, and most students find it easy to lie about their behavior and attentiveness in order to get a prescription. Then they are able to use their insurance to buy pills, which is much cheaper than buying it on the street.

Ultimately those using Adderall get addicted to it. Their grades suffer and many have even flunked out of college because of this specific type of addiction. What once started as a solution has now created a much bigger problem.

But this is the story with drugs and the only way to stay safe from academic pill abuse is to not engage in it. Adderall and other ‘study drugs’ have a variety of health effects and one cannot easily recover from.

For more information on how to keep your son or daughter from engaging in study drug abuse through prevention and education contact Narconon today.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.