Adderall and College Culture


By Robyn Schelenz

For most students, the fall semester has just started and test-taking may be weeks away. But, before you know it, midterms and finals will be here and along with these will come, inevitably, the question “Do you have any Adderall?

Chances are if you’re a student or the parent of a student heading off to college you’ve heard of Adderall. It has become a staple of college culture, a performance enhancer that’s losing its stigma. Add Adderall to the list of college temptations.

For students, Adderall is like the “anti-beer”: it keeps you attentive and focused on the task at hand. Some students even take Adderall after they’ve had a few drinks to sharpen up and return to their studies.  Certainly, students take Adderall when not prescribed, just as students drink beer when they are underage.

You may not know exactly how many students abuse Adderall or all the issues surrounding its misuse. For one example, take a look at the University of Kentucky, which was covere featured on 60 Minutes in April 2010. A professor on the campus, surprised at the amount of students he thought were using Adderall, decided to survey the student body. He found that among juniors and seniors almost 60 percent could be said to have used the drug or similar drugs without a prescription.

Clearly, Adderall has become an important issue for students and parents to deal with. There are a number of questions to ask about the drug – I’ll deal with a few major ones below.

Is It Cheating?

Adderall gives a boost to those who take it. Whether the boost is real or imagined is unknown – studies are in progress to determine Adderall’s affect when compared to a placebo. Regardless, many students attribute higher grades to it.

It’s not only a question of ethics. Possessing Adderall without a prescription is a felony. So, while we can debate whether Adderall is “unfair,” we certainly cannot debate whether its abuse is legal. It isn’t as though there are “Adderall raids” all across the country, but it is something students and parents should be aware of when discussing this issue.

Is It Good For You?

Adderall is great for people who have ADHD. It reduces hyperactivity and helps them focus. For those who do not have ADHD, Adderall is simply a stimulant. It may help you focus but it certainly does not reduce hyperactivity. It creates feelings of euphoria and high energy and increases your heart rate, which can be very dangerous, and even deadly, for those with heart problems. It can cause general soreness, chest pains, and headaches. Crashing from Adderall can be difficult, as it can be hard to sleep and you may feel depressed. In short, it is similar to cocaine, which is why it is sometimes called “diet coke.” Like cocaine, Adderall can be addictive too, and students can feel either psychologically or physically dependent upon it.

Is It Good For Us?

The increasing acceptance of Adderall on college campuses poses many moral questions for students, parents, schools and society at large. Does Adderall misuse signify a “means to an end” mentality among students (you don’t learn nearly as much when you cram as when you space out your studying over a period of days)? Does it encourage kids to pay less attention or to attend class less? Does it create a generation that, even if not addicted to the drug, can legitimize using it in the future, such as at their place of employment? When it comes to the last question it’s important not to forget that Adderall is an amphetamine, and as such will come up on most pre-employment drug tests.

On top of the legal and health issues that misusing Adderall presents, these are the larger questions for students and their parents to think and talk about. Adderall in the hands of those who aren’t prescribed it is a drug like any other – and you shouldn’t need to abuse a drug to get through school.


CBS News: Popping Pills a Popular Way to Boost Brain Power ADD & Abusing Adderall

Author Information

Robyn Schelenz writes for the home drug test company Home Health Testing about a number of health and drug related issues. Their company has noted the rising popularity of prescription drug use and the growing interest in prescription drug testing.


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Categories: Personal Advice