It all ‘ADDs’ up

By Ashley Weyler
February 17, 2005

Ryan Norris

The average college student belongs in a side-show act of a circus. Their balancing act of classes, homework, studying, partying, sports team practices, club meetings, working on campus, working off campus, volunteer work, eating and sleeping is enough to make the bearded lady look like small potatoes.

When it comes down to it, the first ball to be taken out of the mix is sleep. A college student shouldn’t really ditch class too often; if they don’t study or do homework they fail; all the extracurricular activities are an escape form the academics, not to mention partying serving as an escape as well; working brings in the money; and for Cabrini College juniors, volunteer work is a must in order to graduate. Eating can be done during any one of those activities, so say adios to sleep, even though, nine hours of sleep a night has been deemed healthy.

Students need to stay awake. They need to stay alert. They need to study, do homework and pull all-nighters. How does one pull this off nowadays? Coffee? Maybe. Sugar? Sometimes.

A popular new trend growing on college campuses, including Cabrini, is the use of adderall. Adderall is a drug prescribed to treat those with Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD). It is also a form of amphetamine, which is a stimulant. When prescribed, it is supposed to improve a patient’s attention span, increase a patient’s ability to follow directions, decrease distractibility among children ages three and older, and decrease impulsivity, stubbornness and aggression. Doctors say that the drug is almost completely safe if prescribed. If not prescribed, those who take it run very high health risks.

College students nationwide are turning to Adderall as a study aid and an alternative to weaker pick-me-ups. Many students aren’t prescribed; they bum some off a friend, take some from a family member or from drug dealers-students can even purchase the prescription pills on Internet. Some students are not only getting the drug for “educational” purposes, but to extend partying. Since the drug also suppresses appetite, those with eating disorders use the drug for weight loss. The drug originated in the 1960s as a diet pill.

A big reason why adderall is so popular is that everyone can benefit from its performance. It enhances capabilities, not just those with ADD or ADHD. This gives non- prescribed users an unfair advantage over those who actually are prescribed adderall to combat the effects of their attention deficit disorders.

The pills are usually taken orally. For weekend recreational use, students usually crush them and snort. Others “cook” and inject them. Snorting adds a greater danger than just a dependency. By snorting, the drug is being applied directly to the brain. The amount is greater and results in blood pressure changes, which leads to strange heart rhythms, stroke or an arrhythmia. Throw alcohol into the mix and chances of cardiac problems are even greater.

According to Health Services, it is uncertain of how many students are actually prescribed the drug on this campus. Since it is a prescribed drug, and so widely available, those students legally using it can keep it in their rooms, so there is no way of knowing if they are even taking it themselves or giving or selling it away.

“The people who have adderall because they need it usually hand it out for money,” freshman Jolaine Gero said.

One junior reports that he uses Adderall because it helps him finish his work. “I produce better work when I take it,” he said. The student said that adderall is relatively easy to find, but he has never been able to find it “anywhere but Cabrini.”

Tim Breslin, a freshman education major, disagrees that adderall is readily available on campus. “I’ve never seen it being taken or sold on campus,” Breslin said.

Charlie Schaffner, the director of public safety, said that officers have dealt with minor instances, but unaware of any major problems. He warns, “The drug gives you a false sense of how much you know. It affects people in different ways. Study a little bit everyday. Don’t wait until the night before. I would not recommend or condone the use of adderall for those who are not prescribed to it.”

Since adderall is an amphetamine, it has high potential for abuse. If the drug is taken for a long period of time, a dependency could develop.

Other side effects include: dehydration, hot flashes, stomach pains, nausea, heavy sweating, headaches and even involuntary movements.

For those who take the pill that are not prescribed, run the risk of toxic overdose, blood clots, infection (including risk for hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, if needles are shared); scarring; skin, circulatory and pulmonary problems.

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

Ashley Weyler

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