Increase in Students Using Non-Prescribed Stimulants to Enhance Performance on Finals

HARRISONBURG, Va. As the school semester wraps up, many students feel pressure from parents and professors to perform at the top of their game. Some handle this pressure by turning to non-prescribed stimulants, such as ADD medication, to help their performance. This is a trend that has been increasing over the past few years.

Katie Gordon, a local college student, said several of her friends have turned to adderall, even though they do not have a prescription for it.

"I definitely think it has to do with the fact that school is very stressful. And, I think it really helps kids focus on their studies and stay on task," said Gordon.

Randy Hook, the Director of Counseling Services at Bridgewater College, said nationally, the amount of students using adderall has increased.

"The concern we have on college campuses is the rise in use for individuals using it for non medical reasons," said Hook, "From 2005 to 2006, approximately 5 to 6 percent of students on a campus would be using it in a non-medical way. In other words, they hadn't been prescribed the medication by a provider. Now, a recent study looks at one in ten, so almost 10 percent."

Hook said it is a myth that these stimulant will make you smarter.

"It is not going to help you to retain your information, it is not going to improve your memory at any level," said Gordon.

In fact, Hook said if not prescribed, it can also have adverse affects.

"It can make you feel very jittery and that's why we don't want people doing things you know that their physician hasn't said is proper," said Hook.

Now, Hook said he is trying to raise awareness about the dangerous of improperly using this medication, "The more that we can raise awareness that there are proper uses for this type of medication and there are improper uses and even possible dangerous uses of this medication, I think we are going to be better off as a society."

Hook said, most students actually get these stimulants from other students, which is a crime.

He said, if you are having trouble focusing, speak with your counseling center or doctor to see what can be done to help.


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