Study Drugs: A Student's New Best Friend?

1622 words - 6 pages

Study Drugs: A Student's New Best Friend?

Many people who want to lose weight wish there was a “magic pill” that would eliminate the process of dieting and exercising. Those looking for fun, have the “love pill” commonly known as ecstasy. In an age where everything comes to us so easily, where feelings don’t have to be felt but chemically induced instead, one might address a common problem college students face hoping to find a simple solution.

Stuck in the library with a term paper due the next morning and thoughts of your empty bed just waiting for you is not a far fetched scenario for most college students. A cup of coffee can only do so much and with grades falling as fast as the temperature one resorts to other measures to stay awake.

Putting it simply: study drugs.

Take Lily* for example, a junior at Northeastern University. Lily tired herself out living the ideal college person’s social life. She slept all day and spent the majority of her night going to clubs, parties and bars around the city. This suited her fine until the dreaded days came when she realized she had two term papers due the next day and a test. Sitting in her room Lily wonders how she can do it all in one night. Just like the overweight she wanted a quick solution. Fortunately, unlike the overweight who don’t have the good fortune of having a pill ready to them, she did.

When coming face to face with the aftermath of procrastination some students turn to study drugs. Medication such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexederine that are prescribed to those with attention deficit disorder, a neurological disorder that those with poor attention spans are diagnosed with, have proved to give those without the disorder, such as Lily, an extra energy boost. Slowly but surely the need to sleep evaporates, one’s focus sharpens and what was once a boring textbook turns into an enthralling page turner.

“When I know I have a couple of hours of work and I start yawning I just give my friend a phone call and get some Adderall. This guarantees I can get all my work done in one sitting,” said Lily.

According to the official Attention Deficit Disorder website, Adderall is a psychostimulant and an amphetamine. It works by increasing the levels of two neurotransmitters in the brain -- dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine affects motivation, concentration, focus and attention -- a.k.a. the executive functions of the brain's frontal lobe.

Amphetamines, like Ritalin and Adderall, are used illegally to enhance studying by as many as 20 percent of college students nationwide, according to a study published in The Johns Hopkins News-Letter in November 2002.

According to an article in a 2004 issue of The Johns Hopkins Newsletter, Adderall was first designed 20 years ago as a weight loss medication and found commercial success in 1996 when the Food and Drug Administration approved its use for treating both Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyper-activity...

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