Soteria Screening


New Rise in “Academic Doping” as Students Struggle to Study

Back in 2014, a new trend began to develop which was referred to as “academic doping.” This phrase was used to describe students abusing Adderall as a study aid, as opposed to the caffeine pills or energy drinks used in decades past. Adderall is a medication that is typically prescribed for the purposes of treating patients suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Recently, however, the practice of academic doping has started to make a comeback.

Adderall, like heroin and fentanyl, have been increasingly easier to find on the black market, making it an appealing option to those students who want to find the energy to take on additional hours of late-night studying. Since many students procrastinate until their deadlines are looming, they look for quick ways of boosting their energy levels so that they can get more done in less time, and all it takes is borrowing a few pills from a friend’s prescription bottle to get the job done.

However, some students have claimed to use Adderall during the day so that they are able to get everything they need to do done while there is still daylight, saving their evening hours for sleep. Either way, using Adderall without a prescription is not only illegal, but it can also lead to significant health problems for the user.

The effects of Adderall have actually been compared to the experiences a user will have on cocaine or methamphetamines. That’s because Adderall is, similarly, a potentially addictive amphetamine - an “upper” - and users can actually overdose on it. People who are not meant to be taking Adderall are speeding up their heart rates by using it - sometimes to fatal levels.

What’s even scarier is that Adderall is ridiculously easy to get. If a student does not have a friend with a prescription that he can bum a few pills from, then all he needs to do is Google the symptoms and see a doctor to be “diagnosed” with either ADD or ADHD in order to score some Adderall. That is why it is incredibly important that doctors are hip to the current drug trends so that they can see through a ruse like this and shut down illicit attempts at securing a prescription drug.

Back in 2007, a study was conducted that showed about 6.5 percent of full-time college students abusing Adderall (taking it for non-medical purposes), and about 30 percent of those students also admitted to using cocaine as well. Experts are not quick to label Adderall as a gateway drug, though, opting instead for the explanation that students may be of the opinion that since they took cocaine and they’re still alive to tell the tale, then why not abuse other drugs as well?

Adderall is the perfect fit for a student’s budget as well, setting students back about $3-5 per 30 mg. Pill. At that rate, it’s equivalent to heroin in how cheap it is to abuse. There is hope, however, as those students who have experimented with Adderall have claimed that the side effects they experienced (increased heart rate, lack of appetite, increased body temperature) were not worth abusing the drug again. Perhaps these accounts can reach those who are currently considering securing an illegal prescription of the drug.