Drugs are made for treating disorders, not for improving grades

In Devil's Advocate, Opinion
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

One, just one. This will be the first and last time.

This is how the downward spiral towards the abyss of drug abuse and addiction starts. Numerous universities are tightening their regulations on the distribution of medications for ADD and ADHD, including many schools in the CSU.

“Study drugs” such as Adderall are prescribed to those who have ADHD, attention-deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity. These drugs have been commonly used by college students who need an extra boost to focus on their academics.

Several outlets report that as much as 35 percent of students take such medications despite not suffering from either ADD or ADHD. Furthermore, pill-sharing is rampant in many universities despite it being a felony to do so. Students who are in need for the ADD and ADHD treatment now need to sign a formal contract for the sole purpose of deterring them from sharing the pills with others.

In addition, patients need to go through the long process of paperwork and tests before a school can approve their prescription, and students are no longer permitted an early refill for stolen medication.

“We get complaints that you’re making it hard to get treatment,” Dr. Jon Porter, director of medical, counseling and psychiatry services at UVM, told TheFix.com. “The counterweight is these prescriptions can be abused at a high rate, and we’re not willing to be a part of that and end up with kids sick or dead.”

So yes, it is true that the new rules may be a bit harsh for those who really need the medications, but such rules and laws are not made lightly. Adderall allows the students to focus and study hour after hour, non-stop, but the likelihood of side effects such as anxiety, depression, weight loss and psychosis.

The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University’s magazine, ran a feature last May about Adderall’s abuse with students. One anonymous student went as far as to equate the use of Adderall to cheating.

And prescribers even acknowledge the dangers; It is no longer possible to be prescribed ADHD after a single diagnosis, especially after an incident that lead to the death of the former Harvard student Johnny Edwards. The combination of four medications for ADD and ADHD without correct prescription were said to lead to the suicide of Edwards who received the prescription with only one meeting with school nurse.

Edwards committed suicide six months after the meeting, and Harvard is being sued for the medical malpractice.

Thankfully, tactics like faking symptoms of ADD/ADHD no longer work on the campus.

For those who are taking Adderall illegally, other than the side effects that may harm the body permanently, the drug’s addiction and the risks involved in obtaining the drug are good enough reasons why not to take the drug. Even worse, when buying Adderall illegally, you face the risk of buying something much more dangerous (and illicit) than the prescription medication.

For most of the students who are taking the pill regularly for study might easily just choose to ignore this new rule, however, with all the sticking requirements, it is going to be more difficult to gain access to this drug.  The pills can bring efficiency in study time and result in better grades, particularly if the student actually does suffer from the ailments they cover.

Yet when its grades wager against people’s health, the exchange is simply not worth it.

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