Focus-seeking students abuse Adderall

By Emily Bardales

The stress of schoolwork may cause students to look for new ways to stay focused and alert. With the availability of prescription medicine to improve attention and focus, the methods of staying focused are going beyond a cup of coffee or energy drink.

One of these ways includes Adderall.

“Adderall is the principal drug that is used in our society to help with focusing, but of course, we never prescribe it for that sole purpose,” said Dr. David Lawrance of McKinley Health Center.

While focus may not be the sole reason for the prescription, it is the sole focus for students taking it without prescriptions.

“A lot of my friends use Adderall to help focus on studying for tests and stuff, especially around midterms and finals,” said Paul Connery, junior in LAS.

Charlie Reither, junior in LAS, said he has an Adderall prescription and has had people ask him for pills.

“Friends have asked me for pills of Adderall, but I generally don’t give it to them because then the flood gates open and people continue coming to you,” Reither said.

Connery said his friends get three five-milligram Adderall pills for $5 without a prescription.

To receive a prescription for Adderall, a person must be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

ADHD is a disorder that begins in childhood, but there are many cases where it is not diagnosed until adulthood.

“There is always a long history of inattention and distractibility in those with ADHD,” Lawrance said. “Psychometric tests, along with a mental status exam and a medical history, are employed to confirm a diagnosis.”

Reither sees both pros and cons with being prescribed to Adderall.

“Taking Adderall is helpful, but it is also a hindrance,” Reither said. “During the coming down I get in a bad mood and just want to nap.”

There are a number of forms of Adderall that have different qualities.

“For many of the regular forms of the stimulant, the duration of action is a matter of hours,” Lawrance said. “It can also be prescribed in forms that are absorbed more slowly or that only become active after they are partially broken down in the liver.”

But Connery has seen differences in those who take the pills too often without being prescribed.

“The friends that take it too often get strung out and dazed,” Connery said.

As for the legal consequences, Adderall is considered a Class II controlled drug, which puts selling Adderall in the same category as selling cocaine.

“Selling Adderall is treated like any other felony with a potential of a $10,000 fine and a year or more in jail,” said Rene Dunn, assistant to the chief for community services at the Champaign Police Department.