Studying in college seems to be the last thing on students minds as athletics, sorority or fraternity gatherings and summer internships fill the days quickly, leaving less time to study. Chaotic lives lend to some challenging issues for many college students. Study drugs, also known as ‘smart drugs’ are prescribed generally for ADD or ADHD but are being used without prescription which raises risks for students taking the drugs to stay up late and study and experience adverse health effects as a result.
Many college students rely on caffeine from energy drinks or coffee to stay up late and study. There are yet other students who have friends or personally obtain illegal prescription drugs such as Adderall to give a boost in study power. Approximately 87 percent of university students say study drugs are not being used but the problem continues to grow in spite of this statement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates five percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 illegally used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Often, misuse of drugs flies under the radar with college students because they are thought to be safer than street drugs but carry some of the same addictive properties.
Risk and Reward
Study drugs can help improve focus and motivation to study but short-term benefits do not come without fair share of risks. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin help increase focus but generally are used for ADD and ADHD. People with ADD and ADHD may experience a calming effect but without a diagnosis of ADHD, the drugs may cause restlessness and euphoria for people with already adequate supplies of dopamine. Students also run the risk of experimenting with the drug by drinking and using study drugs at the same time which can be quite risky.
How Students Obtain Drugs
On many college campuses, no black market exists since drugs are so easily available. Two ways exist to obtain study drugs, either through prescription or making friends with a person who has a prescription and is willing to give out doses. Adderall seems easiest to find and sometimes a person doesn’t even have to ask for it if friends are using it regularly and want to form study groups. Peers form the easiest way to obtain study drugs on college campuses.
Prescription drugs are not the only answer to dealing with stress in college. Dangerous side effects and legal issues may be present but healthy, proactive steps can be taken to help keep lives in check without study drugs. Eating a balanced, healthy diet, limiting caffeine and getting plenty of rest are just a few ways to get support for the long journey of collegiate academics.
The Villa seeks to inform and educate people about the uses of study drugs and prescription medication. If you are struggling in school or have peers who are struggling, call us. Let us help guide you to some resources and information on how to find positive coping skills for life’s stresses beyond drugs or alcohol.