The Mixture: Exams, Amphetamines, and Alcohol

by Lindsay McMillan

The Leatherby Libraries swarms with last minute printouts and sounds of typing fingers. Students’ eyes are glued to their screens and pages, skimming their readings and jotting down notes. Some chat quietly with their neighbor, while others open a bag of chips and kick back. It is a seemingly innocent place to be home of a Schedule II amphetamine.

“I started in the library and ended up in the hospital,” said sophomore creative writing major Sam Neidenbach after taking Adderall to cram for midterms last semester.

Typically, Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, stimulating the nervous system and helping to restore neurotransmitters in the brain.

However students are no longer just using Adderall as a study aide. It now serves another purpose for college students. Increasing a sense of wakefulness and concentration, Adderall is now a party drug used to drink more and longer.

“I’ve seen girls in the library pop an Adderall, take a big sip of Starbucks, and sit down to their laptops like its go-time,” said freshman communication major Molly Goodspeed, “Then, I’ve seen boys at a party laughing about the Adderall they just crushed and snorted in the other room.”

In an effort to balance grades and a social life, some students have forgotten about Adderall’s ill effects on health. Snorting the drug speeds up the potency and masks the effects of alcohol. Passing out from drinking is usually the body’s way of saying “too much,” but Adderall allows for drinking more and longer without necessarily recognizing it.

On college campuses, the “smart drug” Adderall has become the new punt into active studying and active partying. Students are finding that it’s easy to fake ADHD symptoms and get a prescription. Even more so, students are finding it easily accessible without even being prescribed.  

“I know at least three people on Adderall when I go out on the weekends,” said sophomore political science major Lauren Henderson, “And they have absolutely no intentions of studying.”

The trend of stimulant abuse is largely fueled by the extensive hours of research papers and cramming for exams. As students search for a way to concentrate for longer periods of time, Adderall introduces itself as a safe study aide, and one that won’t have harmful consequences.

Its side effects contribute to the consequences of drinking, yet the risks aren’t stopping students from the mixture. Students are aware of symptoms such as loss of appetite and a rapid heart rate. In fact, some choose to take advantage of these side effects, turning the little pill into not only an academic advantage and party drug, but also a weight loss supplement.  

This stimulant that speeds up heart rate and raises blood pressure also heightens metabolism while suppressing appetite. Some students have chosen to appreciate the lack of hunger, but forget to recognize its physical and mental effects on the body.

“After taking Adderall a couple of times, I noticed how weak it made me feel,” said former Chapman student Navin Khetarpal, “And I didn’t even feel good enough to go out at night.”

A nationwide study by the University of Kentucky recently found that 81 percent of students surveyed considered nonmedical use of Adderall as not dangerous at all or just slightly dangerous. Still, students are discovering the consequences of the substance’s misuse among friends.

“I’ve had multiple girl friends take Adderall, barely eat a thing all day, and then start taking shots like it’s nobody’s business,” said sophomore University of Southern California student Camilla Johansson.

“As a Chapman transfer, I’ve seen misuse of Adderall across campuses and what students do in order to partake academically and socially,” Johansson said.

While students are finding the study aide as a way to boost grades and the party, Adderall is causing a trend of malnutrition and excessive drinking.

In the midst of social and academic pressures, some students are choosing Adderall as a way to have more thoughtful hours in the day and not so thoughtful hours in the night.  

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