Should We Develop a Test to Detect Adderall in Students?

Having spent some time at McGill, we’ve all heard of the drug “Adderall”. Around exam time, when work piles up, procrastination reaches a climax, and the end feels so far-fetched, to some Adderall comes as a rescue. While some perceive Adderall as the only solution to their struggles, others condemn its use due to its side effects and feel it is an unfair “escape” from the university’s challenging environment.

Adderall is a drug that is commonly prescribed by psychiatrists to patients diagnosed with “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). However, in the past couple of years many students have resolved to taking the drug without prescription under the presumption that it enhances their focus and attention while studying and ultimately leads to greater productivity. Studies have shown that 30% of students in the US, and 11% in Canada, have either used, or considered using this drug. However, similar to all drugs, its advantages come with a tradeoff; a wrong dosage can lead to many health complications.

Personally, I think it is just like steroids and sports, the drug gives an unfair advantage to those students who do not need to take it. Admittedly, it may to some extent stigmatize ADHD patients, but the public must clearly be aware of this drug and its complications when taken without a prescription.

Having that in mind, universities should monitor the use of Adderall. I believe that a psychological test should be developed and given to students to detect this drug. It can be confidential, and given to students randomly. For instance, a student may be given a questionnaire consisting of 5–10 items asking him/her direct (or indirect) questions that may reveal to the administration whether s/he is taking the drug. But with such a test, certain limitations may arise; students may not be very honest, and might even feel intimidated. Despite the fact that biological tests may be more accurate and efficient in this case, I personally think a psychological test for Aderall (just like the AUDIT and DUDIT) must be developed; it allows the students to personally reflect on their actions, provide feedback, and also gives them the right to chose whether they want to disclose such information or not.

Well, guess it’s time to start calling-in students randomly to “Service Point” for a psychological test!

Feel free to disagree!


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