Smith 1 Adderall An Amphetamine helps one to focus on the tasks at

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Savannah Smith
Life, Society and Drugs
Research Paper
Adderall
An Amphetamine helps one to focus on the tasks at hand and makes you feel very
awake. Adderall is an ADHD stimulant and it is a brand name of an Amphetamine that
helps patients with ADHD function in what we call “normal” in today’s society. For
those who do not suffer from the effects of ADHD will use this drug and abuse it in
negative ways. Ways to help them stay awake while taking a test, stay up longer to study
and in some cases make human beings feel more social to help them gain friends if they
are shy. Today, Adderall is being abused by college students on a day-to-day basis.
Adderall is known to students and researchers as “college crack,” or the “study drug.” It
is becoming more and more popular by the day because of the medical effects it has on
these kids to help them feel like they are succeeding in school. In this paper I will
discuss the effects of this drug on ADHD patients, effects on the college students and
how they are abusing it on a day to day basis to face the pressures of succeeding in
college whether it be in a scholastic or even a social ways.
Some may argue that Adderall is definitely not a drug because it is used to calm
patients down whom suffer from ADHD, but if they do not have ADHD it can be used to
make one alert and focused. From the article “Adderall is Definitely Not a Drug,”
authors state: “There are no harmful internal or physical side effects, it doesn’t produce
the same high as other drugs and it is nothing more than other commonly used antifatigue aids” (35). Even though Adderall is prescribed to children and adolescents who
suffer from ADHD it has had a rise of, “90% from 2002-2005,” to be one of the most
commonly abused prescribed stimulant in college students today (31). If some consider it
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to not be a drug, why is it being abused? Since about the 1990’s Adderall was introduced
to college students as a stimulant drug to help them stay awake during the late night study
sessions, finish their research papers and ultimately stay awake during the tests they
crammed for. This drug has become a worldwide phenomenon to college students all
over, mainly in the Northeast part of the United States. From Desantis’ and Hane’s
article a survey was done where, “10,904 students at 119 nationally representative 4-years
colleges in the United States. They found that 6.9% of the students surveyed had used an
illegal prescription stimulant in their life, with 4.1% using in the past year. Furthermore,
they reported that illicit use was highest among 1) white fraternity members; 2) students
from the northeastern region of the United States; 3) students from colleges with more
competitive admission standards” (32). There have been many more studies that will tell
the same thing. College students take this drug because it is the “study drug” known
worldwide. From the book “High and Mighty,” Abigail Rasminsky states; “It is like
having ten cups of coffee plus a drink that makes you concentrate all in one” (117).
Pictured below is a chart of a survey taken in the Northeastern part of the United States
that shows statistics of the subjects they picked for this survey (34).
DeSantis and Hane
Table 1
Interviewee demographic information
Demographic category N
Gender Male
94
Female
81
Race White/Caucasian 162
Other race/ethnicity 13
Year in school
Freshman 33
Sophomore
41
Junior
49
Senior
52
Greek affiliation
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Fraternity (male)
Sorority (female)
63
48
As you can tell from this table there isn’t a majority of a certain race or gender that takes
this drug because these college students found this drug one of the most beneficial
stimulant drugs to help them succeed in school. Although, the article: “Non-medical use
of prescription stimulants among US college students: prevalence and correlates from a
national survey” states, that “women are more likely to take this stimulant because it
curbs their appetite, making them loose weight” (103).
College students lean toward this drug because it show up on a drug test, there are
no harmful internal or physical side effects, it doesn’t produce the same “high” as other
drugs and it is nothing more than other commonly used anti-fatigue aids (33). If this drug
doesn’t show up on drug-tests that must mean it is okay to take right? “Adderall is
produced, regulated and prescribed by medical establishments and it is not targeted by
law enforcement” (35). When college students realize this information, they start to see it
as being “okay” to take. Students will compare it to alcohol because it doesn’t produce
the same “sloppy” feeling as alcohol if you were to take it as a party drug (36). This is
why college students will argue and say there are no internal or physical side effects
because it doesn’t damage you liver, lungs or kidneys like cigarettes and alcohol. It is
when researchers start to see a trend not only to take it is the study drug, but now students
are taking it at parties and social gatherings because it gives them more energy and makes
them more social. They don’t have to drink alcohol in order to become social anymore,
all they have to do is pop the pill and they will go from a wallflower to a social butterfly.
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From the article “Illicit Use of Prescription ADHD Medications on a College
Campus: A Multi-Methodological Approach,” the authors will tell you there are in fact
academic motives and non-academic motives for students’ reasoning’s behind taking this
stimulant drug. As seen below is another table from another study that will help us trying
to understand students’ motives for taking this drug. It includes first time user statistics,
academic motives and non-academic motives (318).
TABLE 1. Illicit Use of Prescription ADHD Medications in Various
Demographic Subgroups
Using
Demographic
n%
Not using
n%
Overall
585
34
1,148
66
Sex***
Male
278
39
430
61
Female
266
30
629
70
Race*
White/Caucasian 547
35
1,032
65
Other race/ethnicity34
25
101
75
Year in school***
Freshman
101
18
473
82
Sophomore
127
31
288
69
Junior
144
49
150
51
Senior
137
55
112
45
Greek status***
No
228
23
747
77
Yes
357
48
389
52
Note. ADHD = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
TABLE 2. Reasons for Illegal Use of Prescription ADHD Medications (N =
585)
Reason for use
n
%
To stay awake to study
420
72
To concentrate on your work
389
66
To help memorize
213
36
To stay awake and have fun
127
22
To make work more interesting 70
12
For the high (the good feeling)
39
7
To suppress your appetite
32
5
To self-medicate ADHD
22
12
Other
10
2
Note. ADHD = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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The table above shows us once again there is no predominant race, gender or
ethnicity that sparks the use of this stimulant drug. We can also tell that from the study
above more college students are taking this stimulant to succeed in school, study longer
and more and to also become more social because they like the way they feel.
The article titled: “Prescription Stimulant Expectancies in Recreational and Medical
Users: Results from a Preliminary Expectancy Questionnaire,” authors Looby and
Earleywine point out that, “the people that take it for a medical reason will in fact have
more of a positive outcome because they are taking it for a medical problem compared to
the recreational users who are taking it for the main purpose to stay focused and take it
during finals” (1580). Many people claim that Adderall has absolutely no side effects
and does nothing to damage your body internally and mentally. How can this be? In
fact, the people that think this are totally wrong because this is a stimulant drug, which
means there are amphetamines in it, which alter your brain in many ways. “Adderall puts
your heart at risk, which means that by abusing them you are essentially putting your life
in your hands.” “Your heart rate goes up, leads to digestive problems, feelings of
euphoria, emotional repercussions and depression” (117). These are some short-term and
long-term effects placed on recreational users that only take this stimulant a few times.
Overall, the effects Adderall has on college students, also known as the recreational
users, can be life threatening. It can at the time make you feel as if you are doing
absolutely nothing wrong to your body. Although it has been proven that there are in fact
both short-term and long-term effects the body goes through. Adderall is a stimulant
drug that is used to treat adolescents that suffer from ADHD, it is not to be used as a
random stimulant to help you to try to cram for a test or be able to talk to more people at
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parties. This stimulant drug is becoming more and more popular worldwide with college
students. After reviewing the facts presented please don’t let this number continue to
grow. A drug is a drug no matter how you view it. Drugs like Adderall may seem
harmless to the frequent users whom suffer from ADHD, but to the recreational users it
can ultimately be harmful and alter your body dramatically. Do not continue to let the
number of recreational users of this drug grow, it will only hurt you and your loved ones
in the long run.
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Works Cited
Desantis, Alan D., and Audrey Curtis Hane. "''Adderall is Definitely Not a Drug'':
Justifications for the Illegal Use of ADHD Stimulants." Substance Use & Misuse
45.1/2 (2010): 31-46. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.
DeSantis, Alan D., Elizabeth M. Webb, and Seth M. Noar. "Illicit Use of Prescription
ADHD Medications on a College Campus: A Multimethodological Approach."
Journal of American College Health 57.3 (2008): 315-324. Academic Search
Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.
Henry Wechsler, et al. "Non-medical use of prescription stimulants among US college
students: prevalence and correlates from a national survey." Addiction 100.1
(2005): 96-106. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.
Looby, Alison, and Mitch Earleywine. "Prescription Stimulant Expectancies in
Recreational and Medical Users: Results from a Preliminary Expectancy
Questionnaire." Substance Use & Misuse 44.11 (2009): 1578-1591. Academic
Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Oct. 2011
Rasminsky, Abigail. "HIGH AND MIGHTY." Dance Spirit 12.7 (2008): 116-118.
Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Oct. 2011
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