Is taking Adderall to enhance academic performance cheating?

By Laura Gallagher
November 25, 2012

Procrastination. Disorganization. Being easily distracted. These are only a few symptoms for a common condition known as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

This condition is something a lot of people struggle with and one way to control hyperactive behaviors is by being prescribed Adderall.

This drug has also been known as a legalized form of cocaine. While this medication is helping people with ADHD become more focused, it is also becoming a habit for many college students to increase productivity and study habits. This raises the question for many people: is taking Adderall cheating?

Let’s break it down. First things first: anyone who isn’t being prescribed this drug by a doctor should not be doing it in the first place. Quite frankly, it’s dangerous. Putting that aside, is taking a pill that allows you to become focused, productive and basically helps you finish schoolwork more effectively considered cheating? What I consider to be cheating is looking at another person’s answers or having a cheat sheet in your pocket. That’s pure laziness.

When teachers announce a test, they give each student the same amount of time to study for this test. Some students choose to start studying as soon as possible. Making notecards and studying with friends are examples that this student doesn’t want to delay cramming all the information until the last minute. Someone who chooses to take Adderall most likely has practiced poor time management and stays up long hours (which is a side-effect) cramming the same exact information that everyone else is studying, but in a very short period of time.

Moral of the story is that Adderall does not magically turn you into a genius; it just allows a student to study information with no distractions. This isn’t me saying that I think Adderall is a great thing to do and everyone should try it. I actually think it’s taking away the point of college–to get the best education you can and use the skills you have learned for your future. Taking a pill to enhance your academic performance is scary. You can easily become addicted.

Yes, Adderall can help you with schoolwork, but if you chose to be careless and not do your homework then it’s your own fault. This drug is not going to suddenly make you responsible. If someone has a problem with concentration and sitting still, they should express their concern with a doctor, not self-medicate with something that may or may not be harmful.

I think this is a topic that has become more prevalent over the years and everyone is always going to have his or her own argument. Yes, taking Adderall with no prescription is illegal. Yes, it is substance abuse. But I personally do not think it is considered cheating.

Laura Gallagher

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