Adderall, a stimulant medication used mostly to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has had an increase in prescription abuse, particularly among college students. Originally created on accident by chemist Gordon Alles in the last 1920s, Adderall has risen to be one of the most well-known and commonly abused prescription drugs in the US amongst college students, second only to Marijuana.
The Origins of Adderall
Gordon Alles was attempting to find a medication to help those suffering from asthma when he created a substance known as beta-phenyl-isopropylamine, or Amphetamine. In the 1930s, a prescription called Benzedine containing Amphetamine started being prescribed to help elevate mood and boost energy. Benzedine eventually became Dexedrine after a slight adjustment and was sold to people struggling with depression, as well as becoming a popular diet pill to help individuals lose weight. In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration started to place strict regulations on Amphetamine medication, and were widely out of use for a short time.
Shortly thereafter, a pharmaceutical executive by the name of Roger Griggs saw an opportunity for Amphetamine stimulants to be used again and took it. Changing part of the chemical compound of one of the older versions of an Amphetamine medication, he named it Adderall and began marketing it for the use of treating A.D.H.D. in children and teenagers.
Adderall and College Students-A Dangerous Combination
As a stimulant, Adderall is widely known for its ability to help people stay awake, alert and concentrated for long periods of time on little to no sleep, and to a college student struggling to maintain their workload and social life, this can sound like a heaven send.
In fact, studies show that many black markets selling stimulants, such as Adderall, have popped up on several college campuses, and at least half of students prescribed Adderall for their A.D.H.D. have been approached by their peers to trade, sell or give their medication to other students. And the fact that ADHD diagnoses have increased dramatically in adults over the past decade or so has helped students have an even easier access to Adderall.
Not all students want to take Adderall for its side effects of concentration and focus, though. Stimulants are also known for being able to enhance the effects of other substances, as well as taking it to enhance their party experience. All in all, to many college students across the nation, Adderall sounds like the magic pill they’ve all been waiting for; one pill to help solve all their problems as well as help them have more fun.
In 2012, 16 million Adderall prescriptions were written for adults between the ages of 20 and 39 in the US. Between 2005 and 2010, emergency room visits by college students for prescription stimulant abuse increased from 2,131 in 2005 to 8,148 visits in 2010, with 28.1 percent of college students admitted to abusing a prescription drug at least once in their life.
In fact, Adderall is so widely abused by college students that it is second only to Marijuana as the most commonly abused substance on college campuses. This has sparked some major concern among the medical community as some of the negative side effects from abusing Adderall include heart and blood vessel issues, psychiatric problems, and, when combined with Alcohol, an increase in risk for Alcohol poisoning and Alcohol-related injuries, as well as the risk for dependence and eventual addiction to Adderall.
What We Can Do
Many people are still unaware of the dangers posed by misusing prescription drugs. By helping spread information about the negative side effects prescription medications can have when not used properly, and providing secure spaces on campus for students to drop off their unused medications, we can help inform the public on the risks associated with misusing even legal drugs.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from Adderall abuse, or abuse of any substance, please feel free to reach out and call the following number, and get the help you deserve.