Niche College Scholarship Blog


The War on (Study) Drugs

The War on (Study) Drugs
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Every student has their own way of dealing with the stresses of college life and academics, even if it may require popping a small blue pill before a final exam. What does it take nowadays to crack down on the books and get As? Studies reveal that many college and high school students have turned to recreational drug use such as abusing ADHD medication to help land good grades.

Considered to be one of the most dangerous legal drugs, Adderall is now causing twice as many deaths as street drugs. According to the Huffington Post, prescription drugs such as Adderall and other ADHD meds are "the most dangerous legal drugs among young people in college and high school." On college campuses, students perceive ADHD medications as "relatively benign substances". These meds are being stolen, swapped and sold regularly on campuses nationwide, doubling the amount of student ER visits and deaths.

How exactly are students getting their hands on Adderall and similar stimulants? Experts claim students know exactly what to say to receive a legal, insurance-subsidized prescription. However, not every student with access to the drug actually uses it. Many students simply sell it for profit - as much as $300 a bottle.

While there is certainly an ongoing issue with illegal drugs, there is also an issue with dangerous prescription abuse in the classroom. Some point to the mislabeling of normal child immaturity as the culprit for excessive use of ADHD medication. Who is most responsible for the easy access of these drugs? Should drug companies be just as responsible for distribution and marketing as the physicians for misdiagnoses? Do we blame parents and teachers who cannot adequately control hyperactive children? Or do we simply hold students responsible for their actions? Would informing kids of the dangers of recreational drug use have any positive effect on the situation? In your opinion, how can the issue of misdiagnoses and distribution be resolved to lessen students' ability to gain access to these drugs? Also, if you are passionate about public policy, public health or medicine, check out some of our medical scholarships to help fund your college education.

Comments (62)
Amy p 11/26/2015
I believe that most students will do anything to get the grades they need on college and will go to the extent of using drugs in the wrong way. By students using these drugs in the wrong way and use them for 'study' use to me is a sign of addiction and doing anything to get there hands on them and use them in anyway possible. Especially when they can't concentrate on school or at work. With students getting these drugs illegally, it can make many people who work for what they work for upset because it can ruin the way that they get the medications that they truly do need to survive. With the possibility of getting these drugs extremely hard for the people who do need them it should not be easy for others who don't need the medications to get them.
Fabiola D 11/24/2015
Students are the ones responsible for any intake on drugs that aren't prescribed to them. The teachers are there to teach and help them out in anything academics.
Ava F. 11/22/2015
Teenagers will always find a way to abuse something. That's just how it is, whether we like it or not. But it's pretty stupid to do so.
Noe Villegas 11/18/2015
We live in a Society that.. kids my age are depressed . And they are self senter and they don't know how to deal with their problems because they don't think anyone will understand them.. not long ago this summer of 2015 I lost a friend that. I knew for almost more then half of my life. I lost him because of drugs . He took lsd this drug took over his mind and killed him. Put him in a comma. I will like to learn more about drugs and help others . Stop them before is to late . Their is away you can stop kids from doing drugs. The way of doing that is by sharing life experiences. Not from an adult but from us . From teenagers . We don't need drugs to be happy .. life is grate with out them. Just be around people you care for and love you back.
Rita LaBoy 11/17/2015
My twins will start college in the fall. I wanted to see if there are any scholarships Cherokee Indians or South American children
Aspen H 11/16/2015
Just because some people are taking advantage of ADHD medication and not using it for the correct purposes, they are effecting those whom actually have the condition, like myself, and will essentially punish us and make it harder to get our prescriptions? I don't agree with that. If you look into any type of medication there are going to be people using it for the wrong purpose or selling them to make money, essentially. It's the exact same way with "illegal" drugs as well. Trying to eliminate those who are getting the medications and selling them and/or taking them without being prescribed to them, only leaves the possibly of these individuals finding a substitute medication that serves the same purpose. I don't believe that trying to change the way doctors prescribe these mediations and the standards that you have to meet to get them, is going to change much honestly. If the ones abusing the drugs see that they are making good money from selling a pill that's easy to get their hands on, what makes you think that they won't just find a replacement drug and abuse it the same way?
Angel R. 11/16/2015
I believe the main reasons students are taking ADHD medicine is because they need a stress reliever. As we all know college can be a very challenging and stressfull change for students. Many turn to the easy way to relieve stress, with drugs. Others, as ive seen turn to an exess of exsersize or sleep. Exsersize, sleep and medications release oxytocin at different levels which causes addiction in students.
Shakora D 11/15/2015
The only way to get the idea through there head is to sit them down and show them the effects of these drugs, school is very stressful and they feel the only way to excel is to take these substances. On some occasions they haven't even tried any other habit to take on instead of the drugs. They don't want to die they just want to be able to become more prepared. Students wouldn't take the drug if they wanted to die, if that's the case what's the point of going to school and stressing yourself out. Students are oblivious to other motives, you just have to make them aware!
rethabile maloka 11/14/2015
it's a very good scholarship I've ever heard of..and I would like to be the participants to learn about drugs... since i have used them in my it will be a Good manner to learn more so that i can educate others about it.
Victoria D 11/13/2015
ADHD is a dangerous medication to take. I am taking Concerta. When I do not take my medication, I feel completely lost. I loose focus and my train of thought. However, when someone new that is not prescribed to Concerta or any other drug, it honestly can be dangerous. When I started taking Concerta, I did not eat for a few days. Just thinking about students who want to take this, you don't want to. Students do not know what they are dealing with. They should be studying on their own, not taking any medication to stay awake or by being focused.
Tracey C 11/13/2015
Everybody in the world has to Live and Learn! There's always going to be that urgency and excitement of trying something NEW! We are faced with situations everyday, no matter what our age. The will power needs to be learned, to avoid what brings you down. Alcoholic, Druggie, Shopaholic...etc..these are all means of a way out. When dealing with this specific drug, it doesn't matter. It's just another one added to the pile. I know people that take Tylenol and almost killed them. So no matter what the drug, it's all about the will power and something to take the place of what can potentially kill you. Find a hobby, find one of the thousands of modern day technology invented. As for the doctors...they all know whom they are...almost every visit is 2 min long and costs a fortune. The more patients they see, the more $ for, no, in that 2 min they cannot possibly take the time to know exactly what's wrong. After all, they need you to come back again for more $. Parents,'ve signed on in life to care for children and teach them the way..Have the PATIENCE to deal with them one on one!! Everybody take a breath...enjoy your day! You're still Alive. Enjoy every second, good or bad!!! Xo
Jennafer K 11/12/2015
I feel nobody is to be blamed. Blame the kid for something they can not control is cruel. But teachers that can't handle a student with ADD or ADHD are in the wrong occupation. As a teacher you're there to help the kids grow (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Drugging a child or person to make them "normal" is the reason we have people who can never be off drugs without the thoughts of ending their life or looking for another outlet. I do not feel most cases are misdiagnosis but I believe if you have a lot of trouble it's okay to take the smallest amount that will keep you functioning. But selling them is not okay and taking them unprescribed is extremely risky.. Is it really worth your life to take this pill just to pass a test? Take more time to study, and sleep..
Ada S. 11/12/2015
I believe that if the administration would drug test randomly for the drug then it would lower the amount of intake by a student. If found and the records show that the student is ADHD then the student should be reevaluated.
Andra W. 11/12/2015
In my opinion, if doctors would spend more time with patients making sure the medication is actually needed, and not just wanted, it would help a great deal. Students should also be taught that just because a drug is legal does not mean it is safe. It has a specific purpose and should not be seen as safe for everyone.
Marisol M. 11/11/2015
I know from a personal experience that I was considered to have ADD and my brother ADHD. We both where on conserta, for many years he decided his senior of high school that he no longer want to take it he had them became very definet in authority and always getting in trouble. Me personally I stopped taking it my junior year of high school it was mid-semester and it was ruff at first but after getting used to how to act with out the medication I don't have a problem with my ADD. It begins to not work as good the longer you are on it so the more they have to up it which the a becomes dangerous. I blame the parents for being so quick to assume because that child is different or out side the "norm" of other kids. The physicians I feel need to do more of an evaluation than just listen to parents and having teachers answer a survey on how that child is doing. I feel doing a really observation and study on that patient without them nothing may help the misdiagnosis.
Natalie P. 11/11/2015
I was on Vyvanse before my doctor prescribed me a small dose of Adderral. I am currently on a small dose (20mg) of Lexapro, due to my mild depression and severe anxiety. Vyvanse was TERRIBLE, it made me a rageful, angry person all of the time. With my severe anxiety, There are millions of thoughts running through my head, I worry about everything, and a panic attack could arise at any time. I have horrible thoughts about myself, about little things and big things that make me worry everything is my fault. With 20mg of Adderral and 20mg of Lexapro, my head is clear. I worry significantly less, I'm very happy, and I am calmer in bad situations. I feel like myself again. The medication is not supposed to make you a different person. It is supposed to help with mental struggles you can't handle well on your own.
Jason L 11/11/2015
My brother currently is struggling to surpass an addiction to this drug. He is 14 years old and diagnosed with ADHD. This drug drastically alters his mood transforming him to a quite, angry young boy with low appetite. When off of this medication he is rambunctious, energetic and even more so rage full. I believe that it works in the way it was designed, to keep kids focused in class, but the side effects of these medications are drastic and dangerous. My hope is that there will be a naturally calming alternative put into effect before these children's personalities take a severe toll due to these drugs.
Casey A. 11/11/2015
Kids are doing that because they do not have the time to study. They try to stay awake, because they do not get enough sleep from the countless hours of studying. On the other hand, There are thd kids that do it just to by pass a test.
Natalie M 11/11/2015
College is stressful, juggling a thousand things at once. People want to think that pills solve everything when reality it doesn't. These students need stop, take a deep breath and think positive. Just study with a group of friends that will take the stress out of studying. Drugs is not the way.
Angel J 11/11/2015
I believe that manufactures are partly to blame because of mis interpretations of use such as Medicean for diabetes that are said to help lose weight because those marketers know that diabetics are mostly over weight and to persuade them to ask their doctors they do things like suggest they help u lose weight. and the doctors rely way to much on manufactures word when they them selves should do trials and runs on mediceans that are being highly asked about or asked for and see if it's for what the medicine is needed or the person actually wants it because of what it is advertised to do more than then the norm. and this influx of people who want to use it badly makes it easy to get a adhd meds because of the great quantity of those who ask some who are using the medication improperly can get away with it and have access to the medication if those who are caught and are negatively affected by what seems to me a "positive" substance use situation this can prevent or make them think further about the use of the drugs - angel J sophomore in hs
Erin G. 11/11/2015
College life is stressful and most college students are cracking under pressure. By taking these various pills, these students believe that they are benefiting themselves, and that it is helping to raise their grades. If these students were to take the time to get more rest, study more, and simply believe in themselves, drug use wouldn't have to be an option for them.
Maddie B. 11/11/2015
It makes me so sad that students are turning to drugs to enhance academic preformance. I hope all students who feel as if they are struggling go to their professors and counsellors for extra help instead of abusing prescription medication. More people need to understand that the key to success lies in trying your best.
Michael B. 11/11/2015
ive seen this myself. A good friend of mine smokes Adderall with marijuana because he wants to get mor
Keana hall 11/11/2015
As a sophomore in highschool i hear and see my fellow peers talking about using drugs everyday. They speak on it as if its a new fashion trend going around pressuring others to folllow,but who is to blame? What makes these kids do this? Who can help them? The answer may never be answered no one is to blame but themselves, who can help anyone who wants to help. My peers find it natural and say it helps you with stress and tell others to try it and they do, to fit in not knowing there are other ways of fitting in other than following the wrong people. And doctors and other people in the medical feild misdiagnosing kids and they sell it to other students because of the feeling it gave them and it felt good they do it to get money. So the problem is both the kids and the doctors.
Eloise W 11/11/2015
Is it one's choice to learn how to either exercise and control a person's fears and anxieties with so much is expected of them or just take a pill ...?
Walter K 11/10/2015
Kids in college are still in early adulthood. While most have succeeded in highschool others have barely made it through. The considerable factors that play into reasoning for substance abuse is correlational to the stress in why it was considered. Whether full time jobs and full time classes, stressful lifestyles and full time classes or immaturity and procrastination, for last minute cram sessions, the problem is never definitive or 100%. A case by case basis is the best strategy in dealing with substance abuse. Either way a reflection is to be considered of ones priorities and the cause and effect of ones actions.
Ben B. 11/10/2015
At what point did Adderall and Xanax pharmaceuticals start containing opiates? Either the author is in error or the Huffington Post is.
Jacob Redelfs 11/10/2015
I am the best.
Courtney R 11/10/2015
i constantly see this horrendous epidemic in my day to day life as a high school senior. I personally see the danger of abusing this drug
Sarah B. 11/10/2015
I get the concern over unregulated use of prescription drugs, but there are some very important misconceptions to point out in this post. First, Adderall is not an opioid, and grouping it in a category with Xanax (which is arguably the most addictive prescription drug on the market and not even an opioid) is a misrepresentation of the truth. Opioids are a class of sedative drugs that include but are not limited to, oxycontin, morphine, and vicodin, all of which produce tranquilizing effects very different than a stimulant like Adderall. And as for the misuse of this prescription, calling it a "secondary epidemic of heroin addiction," is absolutely incorrect. According to an article by PBS, prescription amphetamines, such as Adderall, rank very low on their list of highly addictive, over abused substances, overshadowed by the very real threat of opioid abuse. It is a great thing to motivate students to stay off drugs, but doing so by fabricating the truth is a detriment to free-thought.
Michael G 11/10/2015
I have had ADHD all of my life. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2nd grade and prescribed Ritalin. I was depressed, starving myself, heard voices in my head and overall in terrible condition. My family tried 5 different ADHD medications and none of them worked and/or gave me the same symptoms. In fifth grade my doctor cautiously gave me Adderall. He started off with 10 mg a day. It did not last long but it did not give me any side effects! Two months later I went in for a check up and we told him it was working but it was not lasting long enough. He bumped it up to 15 mg. This kept on going until in 7th grade I had a prescription of 60 mg. I found it was too much because I was eating and sleeping less. I asked him to bump it down to 50. And ever since then I have been on it. I do not think it is anyone's fault except for the user of the drug. If you do take these drugs for educational purposes you should know your limits. Kids who OD on these drugs had a choice to take it or not.
A. Gamble 11/10/2015
"Prescription opioid such as Adderall and Xanax".....seriously?
C.P 11/10/2015
I just found out after a recent discussion with my son, who graduated from Chico State this past May, used adderil to "help" him get through that final exam and mid terms. I was in tears. I thought I knew and educated my son enough not to mess around with pills and drugs. But I was mistaken. College opened him up to an entire new world... he believes, really believes taking that medication can do no harm to him, and only helped him. He said he hasn't taken it since and only used when he felt pressure of work and school and that test was coming up. It is so easy for kids to get their hands on this medication. Parents try to warn and educate their children... But once they are out there, we only hope they listen. I explained to my son that he played roulette with this life. I told him he had a revolver to his head with one bullet in the chamber... every time he popped a pill he pulled the trigger and he was "lucky" it was the shot that had the bullet!
Khrystian B 11/10/2015
Drugs are bad
Daniel G. 11/10/2015
I have personally used Adderall as a "study buddy". It was not the best resource for cramming information late at night before a test, but it definitely provided a productive, long lasting boost for working on due projects/assignments. What led me to stop looking for the drug altogether was the realization that I can't get through life by relying on substances for every whim or obstacle life throws at me, as well as the realization that the side effects were ruining my college experience, which included lack of sleep, loss of appetite, and stunted results at the gym. These side affects took a toll on my social life, my grades, and my mood in general, which ultimately rendered the drug useless.
Beth S 11/10/2015
There is a great natural product that helps with focus and mental clarity . These kids do not understand how dangerous these drugs are !
Adam u 11/10/2015
Sherri L below has it exactly right. The truth is that the stresses of higher education requires a lot of discipline and the average collage student isn't mature enough to handle it. I know I wasn't when my freshman year.
Jasmine G 11/10/2015
At my school I don't really see people use drugs to stay focus at school.
Sierra Z 11/10/2015
It is true. I myself have been diagnosed so I do not "abuse" the drug I take as needed. And it is supposed to help you concentrate. At least when I was diagnosed they had you take a certain test. This can be prevented by having parents keep track of the amounts in the bottle.
Clare H. 11/10/2015
i constantly see this horrendous epidemic in my day to day life as a high school senior. I personally see the danger of abusing this drug, but many of my classmates do not. I may not have been educated on the statistics of deaths and ER visits, but I have a constant fear that one of my siblings will abuse these drugs if they continue to be so widely accessible.
Nicholas D 11/10/2015
Factual errors throughout.
Sherri L 11/10/2015
Yes and physicians prescribe it too often. There is a disease called ADD/HD and I have an adult child with it but he was diagnosed after several tests were performed. Dr needed in put from others besides myself. They needed documentation and often checked labs on my son to verify he was taking it and the level in his body so he wasn't overdosed. College is about discipline and not procrastination. I have a mentally challenged son at home, work and I am married so I have my hands full but I DO NOT rely on drugs but discipline, studying, and hard work. It can be accomplished. I have a 3.75 and that's because I have to work for it. It would not be worth it if all the drugs in world are available and I died in the end.
Stephanie B 11/10/2015
With the over diagnosis of learning disorders it can be easy to blame that for poor grades. I think if students started working on school more and less on partying grades might improve.
Chelsea K. 11/10/2015
Being a high school student myself I see this day in and day out. Drug abuse is a major thing between teenagers in high school and adults in college. Some people do it for the "cool" aspect while others do it for academic help. When high school and college students learn about the concept of what a drug can do to you, physically and emotionally, they don't quite receive it. It does nothing to encourage students not to take drugs or abuse them. So in most ways its the parents fault they, by them not noticing or even doing anything about it. Also its society's fault because new drugs keep being produced and it seems as if its becoming more easier to get the product, thus using it more. Some people do have diagnostic purposes for receiving the drugs, but the prescriber needs to be more careful and actual look at the patients history. Students will always find a way to get the drug they want, whether through the other students in school or through adults. And that's why there's not really that much of an effort to stop the drug abuse; students will always find a way.
TY 11/10/2015
I was diagnosed with ADHD when k was in fifth grade and Adderall is a powerful drug that shouldn't be taken lightly. I personally think that you should only be able to get it from a doctor at the hospital not just any pharmacy
Anthony R 11/10/2015
I think that education would combat this a bit. Legalizing marijuana would lower the amount of drugs circulating but , then agian unless it becomes a social taboo or socially not accepted by peers the use will continue because their trying to achieve good grades
David C 11/10/2015
Teenagers that suffer from adhd or add does not have the need to a drug to help them with their symptoms. I personally have been diagnosed with adhd and I have been succeeding thought out my academic life. Teenagers need to be a little more self aware and how important education is.
Jada H 11/10/2015
I personally believe that the students are not well informed about the dangers or side effects of the drugs. They just see it as a short cut. If the students actually take the time and learn about the drug, the drug abuse level will decrease. For some people they might also need to take an extra step and visit people who are in the hospital that is being treated for drug abuse or talk to family members of people who has past from overdosing.
Aaron S 11/10/2015
I am ADHD and did not like the way my mess made me feel. I don't understand how or even why people want to be soo stupid! I have turned to oils to help me naturally.
Malisia P. 11/10/2015
I think that doing drugs is a waste of life. I see many people in the world old and young that has let drugs destroyed their lives. Even some that had a very good future. What is it about drugs that makes one wants to live in such an endless lifestyles. I wish there was more outlet in the world for those who are bullied in trying drugs and becoming an addict because of it. It's toxic,say no to drigs.
Joseline P. 11/10/2015
I think that telling student the outcomes of taking these pills will not make them stop. Students pretty much take everything as a joke. No body can make people stop using drugs except them self. If they want help, the of course we can help but otherwise no. It's no body else dually except theirs
Joseline P. 11/10/2015
I think that telling student the outcomes of taking these pills will not make them stop. Students pretty much take everything as a joke. No body can make people stop using drugs except them self. If they want help, the of course we can help but otherwise no. It's no body else dually except theirs
Coleman t 11/10/2015
I just stopped using the medication because I was on it since I was a kid and I really noticed a difference when I was on it and when I wasn't
temi A 11/10/2015
Drugs are an essential existence in our life but some students get educated the wrong way and since middle school, students have been warned about the kind of drugs they should watch out for.
Madison O 11/10/2015
As a student diagnosed with anxiety some of these pills are needed and help a great deal with stress and breathing. I think they shouldn't be sold but they shouldn't be not prescribed
Jordyn m 11/10/2015
As an ex dealer, I can say without doubt that the academics are the biggest junkies .
Racheal S 11/10/2015
Honestly, I think that just by telling students the possible outcomes of taking these prescription drugs will do nothing. Until they find themselves in a bad situation themselves, that is. I believe it would be better for doctors to really look into someone's behavior before they just sign off for an ADHD medicine. Kids are smart these days. Smart at manipulating people. Doctors should give tests and examine each person who may needy the medication. Maybe making the tests different for each person so that not everyone knows the answers. It's horrible to think that so many students are getting so stressed that they think they need those pills.
Christian G 11/10/2015
I think the best way to approach deviance is prevention. Education from a young age, and treatment for the student users and addicts is essential. If a student is in a detox unit for prescription drug abuse, they should be legally required to take classes at their own expense, and for their own education. The legal system shows a much harsher view toward non-college adolescent abusers, so I am confident a lesser harmful consequence will be in order for student users.
Samantha G 11/10/2015
I feel that students need to stop directly associating their lack of attention with a mental disorder. Doctors also may be quick to diagnose teens simply because they say they can't focus or lose attention easily. Students need to learn to focus on their own in order to prevail and better society.
Katelyn M. 11/10/2015
I don't think it's the company's fault because some kids really need the medication but others should not take their medication if they do not need it.
Jesse h 11/10/2015
Drugs are for those in need but not necessarily needed for anyone. People may fight and cause war between each other but that is they're problem and they're opinion on what they think about it.
Tanner c 11/10/2015
I understand he stresses and why people succumb to this.
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