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College Students Use Adderall for Recreation

July 14, 2006

The amphetamine Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) is increasingly being used by college students to help them study, or just to party, according to an article in First Coast News published June 30.

According to the report, students at the University of North Florida (UNF), and at the nearby University of Florida (UF), have used Adderall in this way, or know lots of people who have.

"It helps you stay up. I probably tried it a couple of times. It works. You just don’t get as drunk. You can drink longer," said Matt Strickland, a UF student, according to First Coast News. He adds that the secret to pulling all-nighters, and partying harder without feeling after-effects, is Adderall.

Adderall is a controlled substance, prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It also works as an appetite suppressant and is related to Ritalin (methylphenidate).

What Adderall Does

According to the article, the students who use Adderall say that it “causes a rush of adrenaline and brings clarity”, thereby facilitating their concentration on school projects and helping them to “ignore distractions”.

"At first it made me feel jittery," Kelly (not her real name) reportedly said. In her 20s, Kelly has a college degree and works as a businesswoman on Florida’s First Coast. Although she does not have a prescription for Adderall (she gets it from a friend), Kelly claims to use the drug several times weekly – initially, the reason was to lose weight.

Kelly’s initial strategy worked: "I’ve lost 40 pounds in six months," she reported. Moreover, Adderall has delivered an additional benefit: "Concentration, you wouldn’t believe how much I got accomplished at work."

Where Do Students Get Adderall?

Students can easily find Adderall on college campuses, according to First Coast News.

"So many people can get it from their doctor and then they sell it," Cameron Petrie, a sophomore at UNF, reportedly said. And it’s a relatively cheap thrill – one pill may cost $3-5. However, the health costs may be much more severe.

"[Adderall] causes the heart to speed up. It causes the blood vessels to constrict. It can cause a feeling of paranoia, a stroke, a heart attack," says Dr Tom Burnakis, who is in charge of the Pharmacy at Baptist Hospital, according to First Coast News.

Dr Burnakis claims that using Adderall is similar to using methamphetamine (also called “meth”) – also an amphetamine – because Adderall affects body in the same way.

However, according to First Coast News, who claim they interviewed students about meth, students who admitted to taking Adderall said they did not take meth – that meth was “really bad."

Interestingly, regular Adderall-taker Kelly commented, "I don’t do drugs." Her perception of Adderall is that it must be safe, because it’s prescribed to children: "If they are handing out prescriptions, you don’t see it as an illegal drug per se. It’s not like I’m going on the street corner and buying marijuana."

But even Kelly may be growing disillusioned with Adderall; after eight months on it, she reportedly says she wants to "slowly try to eliminate it all."

ADHD Drug Abused By College Students To Study, Party, First Coast News, June 30, 2006.

Posted: July 2006