The Other Side of Adderall
There is a new drug sweeping the nation, Adderall. Students take it because it helps them academically. They think that there is nothing wrong with taking a pill that is not prescribed to them. Well, if these students where a little more right, they would still be wrong. The problem is that Adderall is being abused by students who are uneducated about the effects that these drugs have on them. Experts estimate that nearly a third of the stimulants prescribed in our country is used by people who do not have a doctor’s prescription for it. The problem does not entirely lie on the students; they are only being told about the good effects that these study drugs can give them. All the students think about is how much these drugs will help them in the short-term. They do not know what will happen to them in the long-term. They aren’t told the facts, like how in 2012, over 116,000 people were admitted to rehab for an addiction to amphetamines like Adderall. The solution is simple: education. We need to educate these students. We have to take it upon ourselves to make sure they know everything that they need to know about Adderall.
To know why Adderall is abused by people, we first need to know what Adderall is. Adderall is a stimulant that stimulates the central nervous system. It is the most commonly prescribed amphetamine. In 1996, Adderall gained FDA approval. While the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) only allows a certain amount of amphetamine to be commercially manufactured each year, congress keeps voting to increase the quote to meet rising demand. Like how there were almost 16 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall were written in 2012 — approximately triple the amount written in 2008. The case is that, now, people are abusing Adderall than more then ever.
Adderall is prescribed to people who have; ADHD, Narcolepsy and Depression. It increases the availability of certain neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These chemicals are responsible for boosting alertness, attention and energy levels. It also increases your heart rate and the flow of blood to the muscles. That is why Adderall is compared to cocaine, since they both give you those same feelings of energy, invigoration, and that rush of euphoria. Those are the positive, short-term effects of Adderall. But, even when Adderall is prescribed, it has several negative side-effects, like; loss of appetite, irritability, trouble sleeping, restlessness, and potentially dangerous cardiac issues. After the positive effects have worn off, by abusing Adderall, there can be many unwanted symptoms, like; fatigue, feeling of depression and lethargy, increased irritability, and decreased ability to concentrate. That is how it feels to take Adderall (prescribed or not).
Students, in this day of age, have seen a workload like no other. Adderall sounds very nice when you have three exams in one week, a deadline for a project, etc., by helping them stay up longer and focus when they need to. It was used more than other prescription stimulants because of it’s availability. Adderall is a lot more prevalent at colleges and universities. Among current students, 44% of them say they abuse stimulants like Adderall to study and improve academic performance, while 31% of students abuse it in order to stay awake. These students do not know how unhealthy it is to abuse Adderall in the ways that they are doing.
While students are using adderall as commonly as coffee, they have started to really joke about Adderall’s effects. A popular (and funny) twitter page “Adderall Had Me” (or @AdderallHadMe) jokes about the effects Adderall has on people. The twitter account would post pictures like this, with captions like “Adderall had me like…” This twitter account helps us see why people might think Adderall is a joke, since its treated like one.
Not only is there the “Adderall had me” account on twitter, but people will also say just about anything when it comes to Adderall on twitter. To the left, you can see people trying to buy Adderall over twitter. Now how dumb do you have to be to do that? This is a drug people. You can’t just go on the internet, tweet “who can sell me Adderall,” and then be done. It just doesn’t work like that. You don’t see people tweeting trying to buy marijuana, or cocaine. No, because people know what happens when you take those drugs. This is why we need change, because people do not take Adderall seriously at all.
My solution is to make a mandatory class for all students, to educate them about Adderall. In high school, most school are supposed to have a health class. If the school doesn’t have a health class, then there will be mandatory seminars for the students. Whether its in the class or in a seminar, a teacher will teach these students everything they need to know about Adderall. They will learn; what it is, what it does to you, who is prescribed it, what the short-term and the long-term effects of adderall are, the side effects, what is considered “abusing Adderall,” the signs and symptoms of abusing Adderall, the effects of Adderall abuse, how to recognize an Adderall addiction, and how to get treatment for it.
With my solution, students will know everything about Adderall. They won’t think of it just as a pill that helps you focus and do work. They will think of it as a pill that can hurt the growth of your brain, and lead to things like depression, hostility, and paranoia. No one is telling these people that Adderall is harmful. They think that it can’t be that bad if a doctor prescribes it. When in reality, it is a schedule II drug (substances that have a high potential for abuse) that can harm you in more ways then it can benefit you.