Let’s be blunt: Adderall is dangerous, illegal and routinely being passed out like candy on campus. University officials grossly underplay the problem, and National College Health Assessment data shows only about 14 percent of MSU students reported taking an unprescribed stimulant last year. For anyone who’s taken a trip to the Main Library and stayed past midnight, that number seems laughably conservative.
When so many students have popped an Addy for a late-night cramming session or at least know someone who has taken the drug, it’s easy to delude ourselves into thinking it’s just another study tool, not much different from an energy drink. But in reality, taking unprescribed Adderall is risky and could land students in jail or worse, the hospital.
Adderall is an amphetamine. It jacks up the user’s heart rate, sometimes dangerously high.
Take 30 mg at once, and writing a 10-page research paper in one night feels like a walk in the park. But a different dosage, or even the same one under different circumstances, could leave the user nauseous and shaking uncontrollably. It’s infrequent, but it’s a chance students take if they don’t have a prescription or consult a doctor about what constitutes a “safe” dose for their body.
It’s a strain on students’ bodies, especially when so many of us already are sleep-deprived and surviving on a diet of energy drinks and Cheetos from Sparty’s. A brain drained after a sudden burst of dopamine can lead to depression, or a drive for more and more Adderall. Long-term abuse sometimes leads to anger or mood changes, fevers, chills, seizures and even altered sexual performance.
Unwittingly taking an extended-release pill instead of an instant release could result in an unintended sleepless night. Insomnia might seem like a plus for students eager to spend 12 hours finishing a paper the day before it’s due, but that can be downright scary if it wasn’t planned.
A “favor” from a friend or an irresponsible dealer could lead to students accidentally taking a whopping dose and being high all day and into the night.
An unexpected overdose also could mean an end to a night’s studying.
In an effort to quickly finish homework, taking too much can leave students in an anxious frenzy fueled by the drug. Instead of studying half a semester of microeconomics, imagine spending the night recouping at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital.
Going to an 8 a.m. exam after a medical breakdown isn’t fun, and it likely will mean a worse grade than cutting the loss and taking a nap.
Getting caught selling or dealing pills also means consequences farther down the road. Think getting a minor in possession is bad? Selling or taking prescription pills won’t look so hot to employers, either.
Many students probably are going to take Adderall and other stimulants in preparation next week. But please, be careful and think before popping a pill to get through a night of studying.
It seems like nothing now, but taking it without a prescription is risking, at the least, one rough night and, at worst, a habit that is far more dangerous.
Staff representative Celeste Bott did not contribute to this editorial because she originally reported on the issue.
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