Tips with Trish: What’s the big deal?

Dear Trish,

My friend got on my case the other day because I took one of her Adderall to help me stay up to finish a paper. I told her I’d give her $10 and she agreed but doesn’t want me to make it a habit. I could really use a few more to get me through midterms.

Signed, What’s the Big Deal?

Trish says,

It’s not uncommon for students to look for a quick fix at the end of the semester to pull “all nighters” or improve focus on things that have been put off until the last minute. In fact, statistics from CCHR International say as many as 35 percent of college students have used stimulants that have not been prescribed to them. Students are often overwhelmed by all of the exams, papers, and presentations required in higher education so having some help staying up late and staying focused may seem like a good idea, but beware, there are negative consequences to popping these pills.

Besides the fact that taking a medication that has not been prescribed to you is a bad idea, it is also dangerous.  The “big deal” is that most students are unaware of the proper dosages for their size as well as not thinking about the possibility of drug interactions if a student is also taking other medications. Some medical professionals see Adderall and other stimulants as addictive as cocaine and other hard drugs. So starting a habit of taking a drug like Adderall once in a while can lead to an increased desire for the drug. Another danger is that college students have been known to take Adderall with coffee or other caffeinated products which in turn can make them jittery or nervous. Students can thus become so sleep deprived they “crash” after they go off the drug.

I can’t say for sure how prevalent it is on this campus but it is a problem. I know that it is tempting to take something when you are stressed and need the extra energy but I would advise against it. And I know that it can be appealing to sell stimulant medication because, let’s be honest, we all could use an extra buck, but this is a bad idea as well. If you give or sell someone your prescription medication, you could be liable if that person has a negative reaction to the drug. In my opinion, being sick or being arrested would be a “bigger deal” than a bad grade.

If you or someone you know seems addicted to Adderall or any other drug, you can get help. Talk to your doctor, the Loras College Health or Counseling Center or a trusted friend or family member. There are resources available to help you learn to quit before things get worse.

Signed,

Trish

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