Because Adderall uses amphetamine stimulants to help the user
concentrate for extended periods of time, many students today request
Adderall from doctors in order to use it as a study aid. Thus, it is
increasingly popular on college campuses. The largest benefit to
students is Adderall's ability to give students the power to learn and
study what would usually be uninteresting material. Thus it is used
extensively by students wishing to pull all-nighters
to study for tests. Because of the appetite-suppressing properties of
amphetamines, it is also sought after by those wishing to lose weight.
Research done by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows
the more competitive the college, the higher the incidence of stimulant
use. An article published stated the findings of a nationwide survey of
thousands of college students.
The findings of a April 2006 survey indicates 5.9% use rates among the
more competitive campuses, compared to 1.3% use rates among less
competitive campuses. Breaking down the use pattern even further, this
same sample done by NIDA reveals whites were more likely to use
stimulants compared to African Americans and Asians, at rates of 4.9%,
1.6%, and 1.3% respectively. Further, students with lower grade point
averages of B’s or below use stimulants at a rate of 5.2%, compared to
students earning B+ or above who use this medication at rates of only
3.3%. This research also specifically identified that students involved
in sororities or fraternities use stimulants at a much higher rate of
8.6% compared to nonmembers who reported use at rates of only 3.3%.
Another major concern about the use of Adderall among college
students is the psychological dependence that may cause students to
lose faith in their own ability to perform well and the dependence on
the advantageous effects of stimulant medication. Jackie Kurta, an
Alcohol and Drug Specialist at UC Santa Barbara’s Student Heath
Services states, “Students start out taking study drugs one time to
study. The drugs work so well that the students begin to lose
confidence in their own abilities to study without them,” (Hirschey).
Aside from being used by college students as a study aid, Adderall
has been used as an off label drug for weight loss. Adderall’s side
effect of weight loss and appetite suppression is a desired result for
those trying to lose weight. It is administered as part of a “cocktail”
of other off label prescription drugs that have side effects used to
treat obesity. There have not been any scientific studies performed to
evaluate the effectiveness of this form of treatment and is viewed as a
very risky and potentially dangerous way to shed pounds.
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