Students popping study drug risk addiction

Students popping study drug risk addiction

EUGENE, Ore. -- Finals week on the University of Oregon has students hunched over books, cramming for exams and logging hours over a keyboard.

“When it comes to crunch time for finals, people have a lot of studying to make up,” said UO student Brian Stocks.

Stocks said he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and used Adderall to help him control symptoms and to focus.
“I’m not going to lie,” said Stocks. “I’ve been asked once or twice for it.” 

That’s how the black market for Adderall works, according to Chrysalis Drug-Free Program Coordinator Larry Weinerman.

“It’s a very attractive drug, and it’s so easy to get,” said Weinerman. “Adderall is very easy to buy on the street. There are so many people who have prescriptions for this.”

Weinerman said many students who do not suffer from ADHD use Adderall to ride a high that allows them to study longer and focus harder.

But according to the FDA, Adderall abuse can lead to cardiovascular problems, sleeplessness and addiction.

According to the Society for the Study of Addiction, about 7 percent of college students reported non-medical use of prescription stimulants like Adderall.

One little orange pill is packed with amphetamines and can send the nervous system buzzing for up to 12 hours.

Several area pharmacists said Adderall is an attractive drug to students. One pharmacist said they see an increased number of prescriptions toward the end of the school year and especially during finals week.

Weinerman said pharmacies must legally fill prescriptions with official documentation but said students work the system to get that official prescription by researching the symptoms of ADHD.

“Probably about 50 percent of people who have scripts really have ADHD,” said Weinerman. “The other 50 percent are students who got it for studying and different things… [Health centers] give you a questionnaire asking if you have these symptoms, and you answer those correctly and they give you a script.”

Weinerman said Adderall is the latest drug to treat ADHD and that more prescriptions mean more Adderall out on the streets.

He said that makes it easy for people to illicitly buy Adderall, and pay between $5 and $10 a pill to get an extra edge for school.

“Yeah, it's a nice concept, but I don't know if I'd exactly jump in on it,” said UO Freshman Timmy Masson. “There’s a lot of things to consider and consequences.”

Weinerman said Adderall can be dangerous and that it cannot simply jump start a diploma -- it can lead to addiction.

“Even if you wanted to stop using it during the summer time you may have a hard time,” said Weinerman. “You will have detox symptoms when you crash from it.”