Every student knows that stressed out and anxious feeling that comes along with an intense deadline. Whether it’s a project you’ve waited too late to start or a paper you’ve been preparing for weeks, the stress can sometimes be overwhelming. With the stakes high and the pressures of university suffocating, some students turn to mental stimulants, like Adderall, to obtain perfection.
Senior Leah Wright, vice president of the Student Public Health Association, said Adderall is a drug connected with college because of the pressure put on students. She said college is a challenging new road for many students, so some students might feel like the only way to get through college is by relying on a mental stimulant.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on students, especially at Truman State University,” Wright said. “I feel like students might feel like the only way they can do that is from taking Adderall for studying through the night.”
Wright said she has friends with ADHD who take Adderall to stay focused. She said it is a helpful drug for those who need it, but it is sad to see those who take advantage of it. Wright said people who are required to take Adderall might feel embarrassed to say they need it.
Wright said there should be more education on Adderall use in college and the effects of it because so many people don’t understand it. Wright said college students might not see the long term effects of what they are doing when taking Adderall. She said students might think they are at university for a fun time and fail to recognize the danger.
“I know my freshman year, someone overdosed on Adderall,” Wright said. “It’s dangerous and is not a drug to just take. People need to learn it has actual negative effects.”
Joe Hamilton, assistant director of University Counseling Services, said when Adderall is misused, it is normally for performance enhancement and not as a high. Hamilton said it is typically used by students who wouldn’t misuse other drugs but are worried about a test or essay.
Hamilton said the misuse of Adderall could potentially leave those who need it without a prescription.
“I definitely think that any kind of medication that can be abused in some way lends itself to physicians becoming skeptical about prescribing them and to be cautious,” Hamilton said. “At that point, I feel it could potentially limit someone’s ability to use it who needs it because of the tendency to be cautious.”
Hamilton said the best thing to do to try and control the misuse of any drug is to become educated about it. He said people need to become aware that these drugs have consequences.
Hamilton said a problem with the misuse of drugs like Adderall, or even pain pills, is overprescribing. He said some doctors will prescribe a person with a month’s supply when they really only need a week’s, which then leads to more medication lying around the house.
“I think that just kind of lends itself to an environment where people are sharing medication without checking with their doctor,” Hamilton said. “Then it’s an easy way to share mentality with all your friends that you experience with your family.”
Part of the prevention method used in Missouri and at Truman is Partners in Prevention, a coalition which partners with colleges to keep students from abusing substances. Twelve percent of Missouri college students have reported using a prescription drug not prescribed to them, and 8.1 percent of students reported it being a stimulant, according to the Partners in Prevention.
Senior Kevin Hammond said he has known friends who have felt pressured and tried Adderall. He said a reason some students try Adderall is the pressure that comes from college and peers.
Hammond said he has not been pressured into taking Adderall and is not interested. He said students from Truman might feel a responsibility to be perfect because of the University’s reputation, but they have to think of the consequences of what they put into their bodies.
“Adderall is something that you can get messed up on,” Hammond said. “Addicted to. Overdose on. People don’t take it and know they’re going to be fine. They’re just going to stay up, party, study or whatever, but you can very much pass away due to it.”