Dear Straight Talk: My very stressed-out son admitted using Adderall as a “study drug.” He says he needs it to be competitive. He buys it at high school for $3 a pill, saying, “you can get it everywhere.” I had no idea this was such a widespread problem. We’ve been helping him focus without it, and keep telling him lower grades are better than using drugs to get A’s. Please sound the alarm for other parents. — Concerned Father
Brie, 21: Nowadays, it’s uncommon for students not to use Adderall or Adderall-like drugs at some point. I borrowed my roommate’s Concerta prescription and used it for finals one semester and to get through calculus — not that I liked doing this — but I stayed focused for seven hours in the math lab, resulting in an A versus a C. Nearly half my friends take Adderall regularly, while the rest of us drink lots of caffeine. I work and go to school (both full time), and two Rock Stars are the only way I get through some days. I’ve thought about an Adderall prescription, but I know it’s harmful (I’d feel like vomiting coming off the Concerta), plus, I can ask the first five people I see on campus and get it.
With today’s job market, students must get A’s, volunteer, do internships, and for many of us, work for a living. Education is becoming like sports where to get anywhere, you have to dope.
Omari, 19: I know many students who use Adderall. My high school was ranked third nationally. You can imagine the competition. At college, I’m not even surprised when I hear people are taking it. However, unless you have ADHD, there is no reason for Adderall. My GPA is higher than my friends’ without ever popping one. I stay focused using a reward system. I study, then do something fun, then come back to studying.
Dear Concerned Father: I couldn’t agree more that lower grades, legitimately earned, are better than doping for A’s. Students themselves call Adderrall misuse “legal cheating."
Not only are Adderall and Adderall-like drugs addictive and physically harmful, they have a moral and spiritual downside and prevent the forming of one’s own coping skills and work ethic. A society-wide doctor-parent-school-child approach is needed to cool Adderall prescriptions (except for true ADHD cases), rethink our pressure-cooker schools, and educate everyone about the moral, societal, and health dangers of — latest vanity-drug buzzword — “pediatric neuroenhancement.”
Warning signs of “study drug” abuse: Insomnia, irritability, mood swings, depression, nausea, twitching, shaking, overly talkative, weight loss, complaints of rapid or irregular heart beat, sudden good grades and focus. — Lauren
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