Adderall: The Homework Drug

It is amazing that the same small pill that countless students peddle during exam week is classified in Thailand as a type I narcotic – a classification that can result in some of the most serious drug possession penalties on earth, including execution.

Adderall, a psychostimulant pill used to combat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is the most prescribed drug among college students – and the most misused.

According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), abuse has become a stylized, and preference–based practice.

“Stimulants have been abused for both “performance enhancement” and recreational purposes (i.e., to get high). For the former, they suppress appetite (to facilitate weight loss), increase wakefulness, and increase focus and attention. The euphoric effects of stimulants usually occur when they are crushed and then snorted or injected. Some abusers dissolve the tablets in water and inject the mixture.”

Patients suffering from ADHD are believed by scientists to have an altered dopamine processing system. Those who use Adderall will experience a normal working release of dopamine to the brain – those who do not have ADHD will most certainly not.

The drug is available in two types: IR (Instant release, prescribed in increments of 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, and 30mg), and XR (Extended Release, prescribed in only whole mg doses, including a 25mg capsule). The latter administers a Microtrol timed-release delivery of the substance, and creates a longer lasting effect.

Adderall is considered to be the strongest of ADHD-treating pharmaceuticals. Unlike
Methylphenidate based ADHD remedies (such as Concerta and Ritalin), Adderall is known to be more potent and last longer – especially in smaller doses.

In addition to being prescribed to treat ADHD, the drug is commonly issued to combat narcolepsy. Off-label use includes self-prescribing for treatment-resistant depression, and even obesity.

So what’s the big deal? This pill sounds like the miracle drug… but it’s more like a very intense bad dream.

Those who abuse the drug for its amphetamine (a powerful stimulant), find themselves experiencing an incredible array of possible side effects. Warnings from the product’s prescription labeling include possible cases of: increased heart rate, poor circulation, erectile dysfunction, cold sweat, seizures, cardiac arrest, visual disturbance, tics, pregnancy complications, dry mouth, stroke – and of course, sudden death.

In February of 2005, Health Canada suspended the use of all Adderall XR after 12 incidents of sudden death among young Americans were reported between 1999, and 2005. The FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) continued to back the drug’s 30 million prescriptions during these years.

The labeling, by order of the FDA advises:

“The least amount of amphetamine feasible should be prescribed or dispensed at one time in order to minimize the possibility of overdosage. “

This is not happening – even here in Mount Pleasant.

A senior Bio-med major here at Central Michigan University, who has asked to be called “Marty”, is receiving these pills in alarming increments.

Marty, who visited a doctor’s office in downtown Mount Pleasant, paid a $250 processing fee, completed a routine assessment of symptoms, and is asked to return every six months for a check-up.

In return, Marty receives 180 20mg Adderall IR capsules every month. This constitutes a prescription of 6 capsules a day, totaling 120mg per 24 hours.

This is a staggering figure. Surely anyone taking this much will be subject to cardiac problems – or an incredible profit during finals week. The street price for one month of Marty’s prescription ranges from $360, to $900.

“My doctor is pill happy, Marty said. “He even tried to push other prescriptions on me – Xanex being one of them.”

Adderall capsules sold among college students are usually priced from $2- $5 per pill, depending on the campus supply, and the amount being sold.

Dealers are hard to catch, due to their legal possession of the substance. Only during transactions, are the distributors at risk. Usually these transactions occur casually, and in private.

Students use amphetamines for finishing homework, cramming for final exams, and even cleaning their rooms. Staggered improper use of the medication results in higher chance of complications, and serious addiction.

No matter how tough the week may be, students must realize the dangers of this medication. If you are not prescribed ADHD treating medication, then you should not be taking it. If you are unsure of your adderall eligibility, please contact your doctor, or family physician.



Add Yours

Comments are closed.