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Understanding Addiction: “The Study Drug”

Chances are, if you have a college student, you are unaware of an alarming, but accepted drug problem across campuses. It is something that is becoming “normal” among students and has become widely known as “the study drug”.

Adderall Adderall is a stimulant medication most commonly used to treat ADHD. It is also used to treat narcolepsy. The generic name for the drug is amphetamine or dextroamphetamine. There is a picture attached to this post, but be advised that Adderall can look differently – it might be in a tablet form or it might be blue or white. While Adderall’s effects are similar to street drugs like cocaine and meth, yet it doesn’t contain the stigma that those drugs do, mostly because it is a prescription medication and viewed as safe.

With many kids being prescribed ADHD medication, more than 3.5 million by 2011, its availability is rampant. Kids without ADHD are paying other kids with ADHD for their meds and it is widely available on college campuses. Add that availability to a widespread acceptance of use and Adderall use is spiraling out of control. Kids also get ADHD meds by taking them from friends or family who have been prescribed or lying to prescribers about symptoms to get the drug. Adderall is typically swallowed or snorted.

Why is it being used? As mentioned above, Adderall is commonly called “the study drug”. It causes users to be more alert and focused, which helps students trying to study. Students are also taking the drug for its cocaine-like effects, allowing them to stay up and party all night.

Adults are using it too. Some are prescribed the drug for ADHD or narcolepsy. Others might want it for focus, but most use that isn’t for a prescribed purpose is for those cocaine-like effects: ramping up motivation and pumping up a person. In general, users that abuse the drug feel euphoria causing them to come back for more. And they generally need more of the drug to continue feeling that euphoric feeling.

Signs of Use

  • Going for long periods without sleep

  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

  • Manic (extremely active) periods followed by inactivity or tiredness

  • Moodiness, temper flares, extreme anxiety

  • Unhappiness or depressive mood

Most of these signs of use are also long-term effects. Like most drugs, it can actually end up causing more damage than helping. For example, with college students while the drug initially helped keep them awake to study it may end up causing them to fail out of classes as a result of their use.

What if My Loved One is Addicted? Help is available. You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or find online resources on the website. What are your thoughts? Is this new information for you or have you heard about Adderall abuse? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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