By Tonya Malinowski / Staff Writer
The wonder pill known as Adderall, which can be purchased for around $5 a pill on the street or around campus, is receiving a little more attention than simply as a treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Adderall, or “kiddy coke”, is prescribed to treat ADD and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, but as a prescribed form of amphetamine, it is rapidly growing in popularity among students.
“Adderall is probably the most common drug among college students that is never talked about,” said Dave Hugel, 24, who admitted he has taken the drug to help him study and stay alert for exams with minimal sleep.
Students have been known to crush up the pills and snort the powder for immediate effectiveness.
He is not alone. In 2005 the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs published a study that reported one-in-four college undergraduates in the Northeast have admitted to using the drug.
“We are seeing an increase in prescription drug abuse here for sure,” said Victoria Ginter, associate director of the Counseling and Wellness Center. “There is a huge shift in the accessibility of (Adderall) on campus than there was 15 years ago.”
Most students use Adderall without a prescription crush and snort the pill because the effects are stronger and more immediate. Ginter believes that there should be more education in the health and wellness classes on the dangers of self-medicating.
The Counseling and Wellness Center currently does not offer group or individual support on prescription drug abuse and instead refers students to outpatient rehabilitation programs.
“Students are really running a risk by taking drugs they know nothing about,” said Ginter. “I would be open to starting a group for people with prescription drug abuse problems.”
Originally used in diet drugs as an appetite suppressant, this drug is an amphetamine blend classified as a stimulant in the same category as Dexedrine and its predecessor, Ritalin. Possession without a prescription is punishable in Connecticut by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
“Adderall is so readily available because it is so over prescribed,” said Dave Engwall, graduate assistant at Natural Helpers. “The symptoms of ADD can often be symptoms of something else and a lot of kids are being overmedicated.”
The Federal Drug Administration warns amphetamines have a high risk of dependence if used for a prolonged period of time and lists insomnia, heart attack and severe social disability as side effects of extended use.
Despite this warning, Adderall is still the 34th most prescribed drug in the United States, according to the FDA.
Students agree Adderall is the most overlooked drug used on campus. Because of its ease of accessibility and seemingly harmless effects, the drug has gained a reputation as a miracle pill for the sleep-deprived.
“Not many people view it as a serious drug,” said senior Amanda Schultz. “They look at it as an equivalent to like, Tylenol.”