Blame it on my ADD

Across Canada, students are gearing up for the final push; that three weeks of hell when projects are due, and finals are within sight. Times are stressful, and the consequences dire for those who enter this period ill prepared. This enormous pressure has led some students to use prescription A.D.D medication, such as Adderall, Concerta, and Dexedrine as a mechanism to cope with the long nights and deadlines.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Mike Specht

Sports Editor

Across Canada, students are gearing up for the final push; that three weeks of hell when projects are due, and finals are within sight.  Times are stressful, and the consequences dire for those who enter this period ill prepared. This enormous pressure has led some students to use prescription A.D.D medication, such as Adderall, Concerta, and Dexedrine as a mechanism to cope with the long nights and deadlines.

“I definitely have noticed a rise in my grades when using them, but I have also experienced a mix of psychological and physical problems,” said one University of Windsor student who did not want to be named.

“Another thing is that when using these “study aids” you tend to be productive on things that aren’t your primary goal.  For example I’ve written a complete instrumental on a virtual piano, using my laptop keys in the library the night before a final instead of studying,” continued the student who was on Adderall at the time.

According to the Globe and Mail, nearly 4 per cent of students who have no medical need for Adderall use it to study.  That number could be skewed greatly, as prescription amphetamines are a Schedule 1 controlled substance in Canada (the same category as Heroin and Ecstasy), and students might not feel comfortable admitting to using them in a survey.

Assessing the level of concern to be had is another challenge for University brass. It is nearly impossible to gauge how big the problem is, or if it is really even a problem.

When compared to other Schedule 1 substances, prescription amphetamines have a minuscule (almost non-existent) overdose rate.  Though they have been known to cause heart and lung complications as well as insomnia and loss of appetite in the short term; they do not have a reputation as a killer because they have gone through rigorous clinical trials to ensure their safety.

Furthermore, dealers of these substances are hard to track because unlike an MDMA merchant they don’t hang out in concerts or clubs where there is a police presence.  Your local Adderall dealer makes house calls, and hangs out at the library which produces less heat, and a greater opportunity for profit.

“I make as much as I can sell, demand outstrips supply every time,” said a University of Windsor Adderall dealer. “Spring exams last year I did really well. I sold 360, 30mg capsules for $6 to $10 per tablet, so around $3,000. Winter 2011, I sold 18,000mg worth of Adderall, you can do the math on that. During peak times, like during exams, just about everyone and their mother will call me,” he said.

It is important to note that the Lance does not condone the illegal use of prescription amphetamines, but education needs to be made a priority as this trend continues to rise.  According to the dealer (who from this point on will be referred to as Herschel), the preferred quantity sold in the Adderall trade is the 30 mg pill; but half of that is sufficient for a periodical user to study.

“If there’s one thing I can recommend it’s to take a lower dosage, you can always take more, but you can’t take less. Most people find 10 to 15mg works well,” stated Herschel.

When asked about the addictive properties of prescription amphetamines, Herschel was also very candid explaining that addiction to the substance is a possibility.

“Most definitely, people experience increased social skills in addition to focus.  I find that individuals who have a lot of social anxiety in particular are more likely to gain a dependence.  A lot of the people I sell to openly admit they don’t like to study without it,” said Herschel.

With students becoming more comfortable seeking prescription medication, there is evidence to suggest that the amount of drugs on the street is also on the rise.  “Canadian retail pharmacies dispensed more than 2.5 million Ritalin prescriptions in 2012, up from fewer than 1.7 million in 2008, according to health information company IMS Brogan.”

While use of the substances appears to be on the rise, the curious question still remains about whether or not prescription drugs are a concern on campus.  The fact that they are illegal aside, students are more productive and less anxious when using prescription amphetamines.  Also, the adverse health effects attributed to their use are also felt by those who use the pills legally, but the government still deems fit to consume for those with attention deficit disorders.

As more of these drugs are put on the street it is important for students to know the legal and medical risk associated with off prescription use.  Times certainly are grim this time of year, and it is sad to think it forces some into drug use.  But the reality is, when students feel their future is on the line they will take extreme measures.  Be safe, and educated before you put anything in your body.

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