Study drugs cheat yourself and your classmates

Syairah Ridzuan

It was 10 p.m. and students were flooding the PCL to prepare for their finals. I was growing nervous. My exam was scheduled to take place in less than 24 hours and I still had a lot of material left to cover. Turning to my study partner, I asked how she had managed to improve her grade in the class so quickly. That was when I first found out about Adderall.

Adderall and Ritalin are medications that are typically prescribed to people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Made up mainly of amphetamines, Adderall and Ritalin help to improve the concentration of the afflicted individuals. This therapeutic purpose, however, is being manipulated by some students for the sake of enhancing their efficiency in studying.

Often students find themselves buried by assignments and quizzes with nowhere near enough time to complete it all, even after cutting back on sleep. For some, this pressure forces students to look for ways to beat the clock and cram in more study time. Sometimes those students turn to drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

However, students who opt for such alternatives often forget that the drugs have consequences. Prolonged intake of Adderall and Ritalin can lead to addiction, depression and in some cases, hallucination. A recent study published by a group of professors in the department of psychology at the University of Kentucky reveals that the self-checklists used in diagnosing ADHD are not effective in distinguishing between the individuals who have this disorder from those who merely pretend in order to obtain a prescription out of selfishness. Combined with the sloppy practices of some physicians, the issue has become more pervasive and malignant than ever before.

How do we resolve this problem? Some suggest that this issue should be handled with legal enforcement, but the idea of conducting urine tests on each student who sits down to take an exam is farcical. The only reasonable preventative measure is to make us, the students, realize the harm that will be done to our bodies and  to help students discover their natural neurological potentials.

John Hoberman, a professor in the Germanic studies department who is also the author of “Testosterone Dreams: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia, Doping,” explains that the tendency to abuse Adderall and Ritalin can negatively affect individuals. Students come to depend on Adderall and Ritalin in order to function normally. This dependency on the abused substance, Professor Hoberman says, will eventually induce addiction.

The laws are clear — Adderall and Ritalin are classified as Schedule II drugs. Accordingly, illegal trade and/or possession of these substances will result in serious legal consequences for the possessor if he or she is convicted. This includes imprisonment and a large fine.  Those who are abusing these drugs are cheating not only themselves, but also their classmates by using an inappropriate shortcut to get ahead in the class.

Hoberman says students should work to develop their own mental abilities, rather than rely on the artificial stimulus of drugs.

Syairah is an economics sophomore from Malaysia.