Editorial: Use of ‘study drugs’ gives unfair advantage

By Iowa State Daily Editorial Board

Iowa State Daily, Iowa State U. via UWIRE


“Pressure” is one word that single-handedly unites college students from all walks of university life. All students have felt it, whether from their parents and peers or within their major. There is pressure to keep up, to slow down, to stay focused, to stay current and, most of all, to succeed.

This push for excellence has brought many to their breaking point. Everything students once achieved in high school all of a sudden just isn’t good enough anymore, and the pressure to do something about it can be overwhelming. Finding themselves in this situation, many students believe they’ve found a way to push their excellence to its limit using one, or sometimes two, pea-sized pills that send their mind into a utopia of concentration. Out of all this pressure a new “study drug” is born, and its name is Adderall.

Adderall is a combination of two drugs, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder, more commonly known as ADHD. Those who struggle with ADHD have trouble focusing and holding attention on a day-to-day basis. Adderall helps to focus those who are prescribed to take it by releasing different chemicals into the brain.

Simply put, it’s a whole lot of focus all bundled up in one small, convenient pill. This focus, however, is meant for those who are rightfully diagnosed with ADHD. Studies suggest students with ADHD are at an increased risk for academic problems, lower GPA and compromised academic coping skills. College students with ADHD tend to report more academic problems than students without the disorder.

Adderall allows those students who are given a disadvantage by this disease to keep up and be on the same level academically as those who do not have ADHD. Therefore, those students who do not in fact have ADHD, but still take Adderall to get that extra push of focus to help them academically, should be considered cheating when they pop that pill.

Like steroids are illegal for athletes to help increase their performance levels, Adderall should be considered a method of cheating when it comes to performance in the classroom, especially at the college level.

Many ISU students have this nasty cheating habit. Some use it daily and some only when large tests or finals week arrive, but most have the same reasons for wrongly boosting their brain power. One student said: “It motivates me to study longer and be more focused, and [it] makes other activities feel uninteresting, like Facebook and Twitter. I feel like it makes me zone in on whatever I’m doing.” Another argued that it allows them to retain the information they study better: “I’m able to read through an entire textbook in one sitting and remember every word I read.”

Although taking Adderall as a study drug has its benefits when it comes to test time, it administers some scary, health endangering side effects while being used. Studies show that symptoms of Adderall include a suppressed appetite, dehydration, sleeplessness and rapid mood swings. Students who have taken the drug can attest to these defects while on the pill.

“I have spent a 14-hour day in the library before with nothing but a water bottle and a sleeve of saltine crackers. Some people forget to eat because they are so focused.” Even too much focus can make one lose focus. Another using student explains, “One morning I was waiting for the Adderall to kick in, and I realized I had been brushing my teeth for 10 minutes. It’s powerful stuff.”

If it’s not the unnatural side effects that make students more cautious about using Adderall, it should be their conscience. Taking this pill to academically advance your performance is the same as copying someone else’s work during a test to get ahead. Under university guidelines, any kind of academic misconduct is punishable by receiving a failing grade in a class, performing community service, and even being expelled from the university.

If classes are proving themselves challenging, take more time to study using your nondrug-induced brain. If you’re feeling like there’s not enough time in your day to get everything done, then close out of Facebook and learn better time-management skills. It’s not worth ingesting chemicals through your body just to turn into a mood-swinging, cheating zombie. Get up, get motivated and study with what you have, because cheating is never the right way to excel academically, especially when you have to abuse drugs to do it.

Read more here: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_383332fc-d057-11e1-9189-001a4bcf887a.html
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