Adderall gives unfair advantage, causes side effects

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Whether using Adderall as a study aid should be considered cheating is a question many students have trouble answering, but those with a prescription can feel like they are the ones being cheated.

Plan II freshman Michael Patison has trouble with day-to-day life if he doesn’t take his daily dosage of prescribed Adderall. The drug, which aids concentration in those with ADHD and ADD, is also used as a “study drug” because it enhances concentration for those without a diagnosis as well. Patison said that using the drug for study purposes takes away from those who actually need it. 

“I’m just caught up in taking my own, if you will,” Patison said. “I really have trouble functioning when I don’t take it. When other people that don’t really need it take it, it’s not something I really like — it sort of defeats the purpose of the whole thing.”

While he’s never been approached by someone to buy the drug, Patison said this is likely because he makes a point to make it clear from the beginning that his prescription is not for sale. 

“Anyone who knows that I do take it, they pretty much know [I won’t sell it],” Patison said. “I make it very clear from the beginning.”

Using Adderall without a prescription is treated the same way as using any other illegal substance, said Marcia Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Dean of Students.

According to University Health Services’ website, side effects of using Adderall include irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, diarrhea or constipation, impotence or changes in sex drive, among others. 

The drug can be extremely harmful if taken incorrectly, said a female law student who wished to remain anonymous and is prescribed Adderall. The student said people have approached her to purchase a prescription in the past. 

“It doesn’t actually help them process the information at all,” she said. “It just speeds up reading and helps with focus, and I think in the end anyone who takes it without needing it is actually going to end up doing worse on stuff. I don’t care, I try to avoid the politics of it all.”

It should be considered cheating because it cheats those with a prescription, Patison said.

“You’re using an outside aid that you haven’t been approved for,” Patison said. “And as a result, you’re putting somebody else at a disadvantage.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 as: ADHD students disapprove of  'study drugs'