Jared Gabay, a Auburn University senior, told CNN he takes Adderall — not for ADHD, which he doesn’t have, but to help pull all-nighters studying in his fraternity house.
“I’m more driven. I don’t focus on anything else,” he told CNN. “If I have a paper, that’s all I’m doing. No distractions, no socializing, just on with it.”
And a third of the students surveyed said, like Gabay, that they didn’t view it as cheating.
“I consider it kind of an unwritten rule,” he told CNN. “It’s okay if you’re just getting it for one thing. If you’re consistently using it and not prescribed that’s crossing the line.”
Timothy Wilens, director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told the Detroit Free Press that there’s no doubt these ADHD drugs improve focus and concentration. For example, for someone with ADHD, the drugs might help them focus for 20 minutes instead of five, he said. And for someone without ADHD, the drugs might help them concentrate for 50 or 60 minutes instead of the 30 or 40 minutes they’re accustomed to.
Some experts say it’s not worth the payout.
Jon LaPook, chief medical correspondent for CBS News, reported that the risks of stimulant use include heart attack, stroke, psychosis and even death.
“They’re really playing Russian roulette,” he said.
According to a report released last year by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, emergency room visits for non-medical use of stimulants tripled between 2005 and 2011, CBS News reported.
“It is our hope that this study will increase greater awareness and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for academic purposes,” Natalie Colaneri, lead investigator of the PAS study and research assistant at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said in a news release. “It is important that this issue be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective: as an issue relevant to the practice of medicine, to higher education and to ethics in modern-day society.”