by Dr. Elaina George, MD
According to a recent CNN report 7% of college students admit to using Adderall without a prescription. It is an amphetamine-like stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorders (ADD) and attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This drug, come to known as ‘vitamin A’, is taken by students to improve their grades. It is believed to help them study more efficiently by increasing the ability to stay awake and concentrate longer. It is more potent than caffeine or the old standbys No-Doze and Mountain Dew.
When prescribed by a physician for an individual with ADD or ADHD, Adderall is an effective and safe drug. Unfortunately, like many other prescription drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Oxycontin, which have become easy to get on the Internet and on the black market, its ubiquitous use has taken away the fear factor. There is little regard for the potential side effects such as heart problems, stroke, tremors, and addiction.
In fact both prescription drugs and over the counter drugs have been reduced to quick fixes that are used to ‘make a problem go away’. There is a pervasive feeling that if it is a prescription drug or if it is sold over the counter, then it must be safe. This has been encouraged by the aggressive direct to patient marketing by the pharmaceutical industry.