Dear Straight Talk: I’m 99 percent sure my older brother is on Adderall or something similar. He’s paranoid about his grades being perfect so he can get into a top college. Our parents just think he studies very hard; however, we share a room so I know he often stays up most of the night studying. Sometimes all night. He also acts very hyper. When he does try to sleep, he tosses and turns and talks about school in his sleep — all of which makes me lose sleep as well. He barely eats and has lost a lot of weight. I’m really concerned. I don’t want to go to our parents and get him in trouble, though, since I’m sure he’s getting whatever it is illegally at school. Help! — Concerned Sister, La Habra, Calif.
Taylor, 16: Confronting him may just make him hide things. Don’t put all the worry on your shoulders. Enlist a parent or adult who will help. Your brother may be upset now, but he will thank you later.
Colin, 19: Your description definitely sounds like substance abuse. However, I always warn people to be very sure before dragging somebody through what might be a crazy allegation. Go to a higher authority. Make sure whoever that is will help your brother, not persecute him. Even if he isn’t abusing something, he needs psychological help. People stress out about school way more than they should. Society pushes this stupid propaganda that if you don’t excel academically you’re condemned to poverty. It’s completely false. I’m not saying disregard schoolwork, I’m saying don’t disregard life for an unrealistic GPA.
Brandon, 21: If this was my sister, I would just blow the whistle and have her drug tested. You have an obligation to your brother. You MUST pressure your parents into fixing this ASAP. What I know about Adderall is how addictive it is to those abusing it. Today’s “gateway drug” isn’t marijuana, it’s these prescription drugs. If your brother is cornered, there’s a 50 percent chance he’ll quit or get rehab to quit. The other 50 percent is that he’ll dodge getting help and keep using.
Dear Concerned Sister: Nobody likes to be the fink, but when someone is in serious trouble, you do it. Plus, if you don’t tell, who will? Probably nobody. I agree that it sounds like he’s using Adderall — and that he is addicted and taking dangerously high doses. Fate has put this in your court and if you do nothing and something bad happens, you’ll never forgive yourself. — Lauren
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