By Kylynn Pelkey | firstname.lastname@example.org
For one Flagler College senior, keeping a 3.0 GPA for the past four years has been tough but rewarding. This particular student, who prefers to remain anonymous, said even though he works hard for his good grades, he has used the drug Adderall to help him study every once in a while.
“With Adderall if you’re studying, it honestly just makes you focus completely,” the senior said.
Adderall has earned the nickname “Easy A” because it helps students to study harder, focus more, and in turn, earn better grades. Yet the problem of Adderall abuse on college campuses all over the nation is growing. Studies show that college students are twice as likely to abuse stimulant drugs, such as Adderall, than those who are not attending college at all.
“Six and a half percent of college students, full time college students, between ages of 18 and 22, use Adderall for non-medical uses,” said Glenn Goldberg, a counselor at Flagler. “What the research shows is that the people who are actually abusing it tend to abuse a lot of other substances and Adderall is just another substance to abuse, even though it has a very different affect.”
The anonymous senior said he buys the pills from other students who have a prescription, and he can get a pill for about $5.
“Everybody knows everybody,” the senior said. “Eventually, you could get it, it’s pretty easy.”
But Flagler College nurse, Judy Angalfy, said Adderall can be a dangerous health risk when taken illegally.
“We don’t know whether someone who’s doing that might have some kind of congenital heart problem that could cause them to have a cardiac arrest,” Angalfy said. “It can cause unusual anxiety, it can have some really bad side effects.”
The senior who uses Adderall said even though he continues to use Adderall occasionally, he has had a negative experience with it.
“I’ve also taken it when I’m tweaking out and I couldn’t study,” the senior said. “It made it worse because I was fidgety and it made everything really bad.”
But health risks aside, school officials are raising another issue with the illegal use of Adderall. Many students and teachers, who are aware of the increasing problem, feel that Adderall can be seen as a form of cheating.
“I would tend to think of it as cheating almost in the same way that a baseball player who uses steroids to increase his batting average, something along those lines,” Goldberg said. “It’s certainly a performance enhancing drug in that respect.”
But those who abuse Adderall disagree. The Flagler senior said while students take Adderall, they still have to be motivated to study. He said Adderall doesn’t make users smarter, it just helps them focus so they can better retain the information.
“I think it’s a great drug, honestly, but if you take it the wrong way, if you abuse it, it’s going to have its consequences,” the senior said. “Just be smart about it, know the side effects and you’ll better yourself.”