YouSpeak: Does Taking Adderall Give Students an Unfair Advantage?
Prescribed for ADHD, stimulant is crammer’s little helper
It’s hard to find an authoritative report on the number of college students who use Adderall. One 10-year-old study published in Addiction claimed that as many as 25 percent of college students take the stimulant, which is prescribed to improve the mental focus of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And a 2008 study by the Center for Substance Abuse Research found that Adderall was the most popular drug taken by students to increase mental performance—none of which is news to undergraduates. Most of them know that Adderall is the crammer’s drug of choice, and most believe that it does improve their ability to focus.
The drug’s health risks are less well known. Adderall can boost the risk of heart attack or stroke and can lead to addiction, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, and even sexual impotence. Potential legal ramifications are equally alarming: because Adderall is a Schedule II drug, using it without a prescription or selling it are state and federal crimes and can lead to expulsion from the University.
On a less drastic note, using Adderall to study for tests can cause resentment in fellow students who don’t take it and think that a chemically enhanced ability to focus gives users an unfair advantage.
This week’s “YouSpeak” asks: Does taking Adderall give students an unfair advantage?
“YouSpeak” typically appears each Monday.
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