And I do. But I admit it—I was absolutely stunned to realize that Adderall, one of the common medications to treat ADD and ADHD, is being used by teens and young adults as a help and sure-fire method to studying and having the energy to get through school, work, and life.
In an article titled, 15 Scary Facts About Adderall Abuse, the author points out, “Students swallowing or snorting Adderall, Ritalin, and other amphetamines available by prescription (or, more likely, available via connections with prescriptions) stands as one of the most volatile issues impacting the education system today, particularly at the college level. Seeing as how society tends to push achievements as the be-all, end-all of existence, it’s easy to see why so many turn toward abusing these drugs when the desperation to perform grows way too overwhelming.”
Everyone wants to be successful. Especially in academics, the pressure is on to succeed, and succeed well. Everyone is looking for the best and fastest way to do something, and somehow, somewhere, Adderall became a quick fix.
When the subject came up in one of my classrooms, I was surprised at how many of my students had heard of Adderall as a study aid—and as a positive one. They are, generally, freshmen and sophomores in college, and find themselves juggling more responsibilities than they ever have before. So, to them, Adderall is an easy fix—and because it is labeled under a prescription, they assume it is a good one for them, whether they have been prescribed it or not.
The effects of someone taking Adderall who does not need it for a true problem can vary, and naturally, be dangerous. Put crudely, Adderall is a legal methamphetamine that ignites the part of the brain that helps one focus. It gives energy and a false sense of “I can do it all.” For young people, this can be dangerous physiologically as well as mentally.
We need a better awareness of the now almost-casual use of Adderall, and to be wary of any of our children using it outside of a doctor’s advice. If you have your own prescription, be aware of how valuable that may be to your teen child—and how they may not think you will notice just a few gone here and there. It is up to us to help them realize that drugs are never meant to be a study aid.