Adderall use on the rise

College students across the nation are finding new tools to help them focus on their studies — including the prescription drug Adderall.

Adderall is a prescription medication used to increase brain stimulation in patients diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The pill improves their ability to pay attention to the task at hand.

According to research released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “full-time college students aged 18-22 were twice as likely as their counterparts who were not full-time college students to have used Adderall non-medically in the past year.”

Although the medication is only supposed to be used by those diagnosed with ADD, students without the medical condition obtain the drug in order to increase their focus on school.

Students are able to obtain the drug either by going to their doctor and asking for a prescription, or through illegal means.

To students at Oakland University, the statistic from the NSDUH makes sense.

Tabitha Budaj, a junior health sciences major, believes that part of the reason that so many college students take Adderall is because it is considered a step up from the energy drinks most of them drank in high school. Instead of caffeine, older students are turning to prescription drugs.

“The side effects especially for someone who has taken too much, and likely even for someone who has ADD can be nervousness, decreased appetite (and) sleep problems,” Nancy Jansen, director of OU’s Graham Health Center, said.

Students at OU have witnessed these side effects first-hand. Lauren Day, a health sciences major, knew a student who used Adderall.

“It helped him really focus and I feel like it drained him of everything else emotion- wise. It was freaky because he seemed like a different person,” Day said.

Budaj had also noticed changes in her friend when he took the drug in order to focus on studying.

“Usually they are like normal, but when they take (Adderall) they are turbo-charged,” Budaj said.

For some students, taking Adderall may turn into a serious problem.

“I know someone who had it turn into an addiction. He takes it more often than he should to study and in general,” Budaj said.

Antionette Henry, a junior majoring in public administration, has a friend who takes Adderall recreationally. He takes it so often that he barely rests or sleeps.

“He takes it at least six times a day, I’m with him quite often,” Henry said. “It has no doubt turned into an addiction. He is quite dependent upon this drug. If he isn’t able to access the drug, it’s like he goes into withdrawal and has crazy mood swings.”

“There is always some potential for abuse,” Jansen said of the prescription drug. “That’s why it’s a pretty controlled substance.”

It is always important that prescription drugs are obtained with doctor authorization. Adderall and other medications affect different people in different ways — these pills should only be issued and/or used with careful consideration of the patient’s medical history.

According to Jansen, “Adderall could potentially cause a serious cardiac issue if (the user) has an underlying heart problem.”

If you or someone you know abuses prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Hotline at (866)-784-8911.