To carry study drugs like Adderall without a prescription is a felony, but this hasn’t stopped students at Cal State Fullerton from using it as an aid for their all-nighters and cramming sessions.
Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. It’s used to speed up the brain and nervous system to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and obesity. It requires a doctor’s prescription and is meant to help increase the ability to focus, pay attention and control behavior.
While CSUF students are taking these drugs, their numbers have been decreasing since 2014, according to a 2016 report from the American College Health Association.
The biennial study randomly selects about a quarter of the 40,000 students on campus. These students are emailed confidential surveys, and about 1,100 surveys are completed and documented for data, said Laura Ross, a health educator at TitanWell.
Only five percent of students reported using stimulants not prescribed to them, according to the 2016 study. This includes all stimulants, not just Adderall.
“I think alcohol is definitely a bigger issue. Marijuana is a bigger issue. Cigarettes are a bigger issue. (Study drugs) are not rocking our world,” Ross said.
Relying on Adderall to study may not give students the results they desire, Ross said.
“I’m more concerned that there’s coping skills that students need to learn about how to sleep better, be rested and study properly to remember things instead of just taking a pill,” Ross said.
CSUF policy, outlined in the presidential directives, prohibits the possession or sale of any illicit drug or narcotic, and students found to be in violation may be “warned, placed on university probation, suspended or dismissed from the university and/or expelled from the residence halls depending upon the seriousness of the violation.”
The violating student may face prosecution if referred to the Orange County District Attorney, and could also see their financial aid affected, according to President’s Directive No. 1.
Several students on campus who have experimented with the stimulant echoed Ross’ statement and believe poor time management is the cause of their use.
Damien, now a senior business major, started taking Adderall in his second year out of curiosity and due to its availability.
“It definitely helped, but it’s not a necessity,” Damien said.
Tiffany, a third-year business major, still uses Adderall once every other week when she needs to write papers.
“I think students would take it no matter how much homework they have. If other students who aren’t taking it are able to do the same amount of work and get good results, then they can do it too,” Tiffany said.
Ross said students who are high when studying would probably need to be the same way when taking a test, in order to be successful.
“Sometimes students let themselves get overloaded with work, because we have that as an option. We overload ourselves and then we say ‘Alright we’ll just take an Adderall,’” Damien said. “I don’t want to make it sound like school is easy, but it’s definitely doable without Adderall.”