As college students get into the rhythm of a new school year, many begin to feel the stress of meeting the demands of a collegiate education. Tests, papers, group projects and extracurricular activities build up to a high-intensity workload. Rutgers students are back to school this week and will soon see their workload pile up as the semesters gets into full swing with classes and activities.
Most students take advantage of campus resources such as a writing center or study group to meet curricular expectations. Some others choose the destructive, often ineffective route of turning to prescription stimulants or “study drugs” to deal with a heavy workload.
Studies show approximately 1 in 5 college students have used prescription stimulants not prescribed to them as study enhancements. The most common stimulants students use include Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin and Concerta used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. For students who actually have prescriptions for these medications, more than half report peers seek to obtain their medications for recreational use.
Health and safety risks
Abusing prescription drugs can lead to long-term health and safety risks. College students may think only in the short-term when it comes to using stimulants as study tools. The reality is, even if it’s a one or few time activity, any kind of drug abuse can have lasting and devastating effects on a person’s health.
Users of study drugs who don’t have prescriptions for these medications tend to do so because of the quick jolt of energy released by these drugs. Dopamine and norepinephrine levels increase with the use of prescriptions stimulants which provides a high level of alertness, attention and energy.
Along with these effects, prescription stimulants also increase blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and breathing rates. High doses, associated with misuse and abuse of prescription stimulants, can lead to irregular heartbeat, increased body temperature, and even heart failure and seizures.
If a doctor hasn’t prescribed a stimulating medication, don’t use it. Even a one-time use can have major health risks for persons who don’t need medications to treat conditions such as ADHD or narcolepsy.
Using prescription stimulants to cram for a test may seem like a simple solution, but the consequences are far greater than a poor grade on a final. It is illegal to buy or sell these drugs without a valid prescription. Even a small sale or purchase can lead to criminal charges and penalties including fines, jail time and punishment from the school.
New Jersey and federal law bar the sale and purchase of prescription drugs including study drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. Consider the health risks and legal consequences of selling, buying or using these drugs as a study mechanism. The benefits don’t outweigh the risks.