On Monday, the Minnesota Daily published the column “Let students use Adderall” by Christopher Meyer. Meyer makes the logical jump that the only reason Adderall isn’t an over-the-counter drug is because of fears that it leads to a dishonest advantage when it comes to concentration. In reality, there are far more reasons than that.
Mood-changing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Zoloft, Lexapro, Abilify, Ambien, Concerta, Cymbalta, Clonazepam, Vyvanse and Prozac are not medications that should be given out with little but a whim. These medications are meant for those people who have serious social and mental problems that prohibit them from being part of everyday activities. They are for kids who physically can’t stop shaking when trying to sit still. They are for kids who can’t dissect social norms.
Adderall is for those who physically can’t sit down for 50 minutes during a lecture without leaving for some reason. As a senior pharmacy technician for more than five years at a pharmacy that dispenses more than 500 of these mood-changing drugs a day, the thought that anyone could think these drugs are meant for the general public is disgusting.
One of my favorite patients, a mother of four, has children who need to take Adderall and Vyvanse simply to stay in the store long enough to pick up the medication. One of her children, 11 years old, once left with a complete stranger after missing his medication for more than five hours. He was only returned to her because she had put a tracking device on him so that the police could find him again.
In elementary school I had a friend who couldn’t sit still; he was all over the place. Now that he’s in college he is still the same way. When he got an Adderall prescription he was still hyper as ever, but he was a much more controlled person. He understood why exactly it was that he had trouble making friends as a result. He was capable of studying for more than 10 minutes, which he was physically unable to do prior. It actually hasn’t changed his grades whatsoever. This is because even when he was having more intense problems, he still put forth the necessary effort.
For the most part, these are extreme cases, but these stories need to be shared to explain why taking mood-changing drugs should be reserved for the necessary cases, not for the students who think because they’d rather go out drinking and partying instead of studying they need Adderall to help study. That’s a farce.
I dealt with the same temptations when it came to studying as everyone else. My friend was in the top 3 percent like me, without Adderall. Today it seems that for every single person who actually needs Adderall to function, another 10 or 20 people who don’t need Adderall take it too.
Some people may not know Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance, the highest legal class of controlled medications. Drugs are given control ratings based almost purely on how addictive a drug is. You want to give away one of the most addictive medications away without a prescription? Adderall is in the same addictive level as Ritalin, oxycodone, opium, cocaine and morphine.
I find it extremely offensive that anyone should suggest mood-changing medications should be taken like a Tylenol or Advil.
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