Drug Counselors: College students using Adderall as 'smart drug'

ADHD treatment shared, sold on campus

ORLANDO,Fla. - Adderall, aka the "smart drug," is getting a lot of play on college student Twitter accounts during mid-term and final exams.

During a 6-month study of student tweets on Twitter accounts, BYU researchers found  messages like "Adderall +School=Winning "and "Adderall Stockpile for finals" were common during the days leading up to research papers and  exams.

25-year-old Dustin, a marketing major at Valencia College, says he used 15 mg of Adderall five months ago so he could concentrate on a research paper on Socrates.

"I actually got a 92 on that paper, it was one of the best papers I had ever written," he said.

Dustin says he only uses the stimulant "once or twice a year" to help him focus and he says "it's easy to get."

The symptoms:

  • ADHD has three "core" levels: Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • It affects 9.5 percent of children.
  • According to the National Resource Center on ADHD roughly 60 percent have "symptoms through adolescence and adulthood"

But an investigation by Local 6 found consensus that hundreds of local college students have been taking the medicine without a doctor's diagnosis or prescription for years.

Kelly Creamer, an addiction counselor with the Choices Counseling Center in Winter Park, says students with legitimate prescriptions will "share it or sell it."

Creamer says she saw Adderall use first hand as a student at UCF twelve years ago.

"I was studying political science there at the time and I remember going into the bathroom before a mid-term exam and there were girls in there, clear as day, snorting Adderall right before the mid-term."

Fast- forward a decade later and the New York Times reports it is still happening. The story, "Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions," found that many students will even "fake symptoms to obtain steady prescriptions for highly addictive medications that carry serious psychological dangers."

Elizabeth Traynor, the director of the Choices Counseling Center , says deception is common.

Many of Traynor's college-aged clients admit they lied about their symptoms to get their hands on Adderall.

"They look it up on line to research exactly what they need to say and then they present that to their parents and their physicians," Traynor said.

Eric, a senior Finance major at UCF says kids that use it are trying to stay at the top of the class.

" If a student gets a 95 because he used an Adderall and studied all night well, suddenly there's added pressure because teachers grade on curves, you have to keep up with the competition," he said.

UCF spokesman Grant J. Heston says all freshman are required to take drug awareness training at UCF.

"Our Health Services and Counseling Centers also offer prevention services for students as well as help overcoming an addiction," Heston said.

Traynor says a red flag for any drug treatment counselor or doctor should be when a patient asks for a drug by name.

Her center helps 50 to 60 college students a year many struggling with addictions that started with Adderall.

"I have people telling me they take ten Adderall in a day…they have the mentality that if they are doing well with one, more is best."

Side effects:

  • Like any stimulant Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), carries a litany of side effects from uneven heartbeats, emotional swings, talking more than usual, dangerously high blood pressure, tremors and chest pain.

Dr. Bruce Goldberger, Ph.D., Chief of Forensics at the University of Florida's College of Medicine, says students never seem to consider the risks of taking someone else's prescription.

Goldberger says the abuse of Adderall on campuses is "widespread."

When you share your Adderall or sell your Adderall of course, you're risking toxicity," Goldberger said. " We've seen Adderall deaths before."

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