By: Kathleen Jacob Exam time is here and college students everywhere are gearing up for all-night cram sessions. On some college campuses though, textbooks, notes, and gallons upon gallons of coffee aren’t the only things used to help study. Some students say they are turning more and more towards prescription pills to get them through exam time.
Amphetamines are prescription drugs that increase alertness, wakefulness, and awareness in people with Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD. However, these drugs have also become popular among college students who are not prescribed them around exam time.
“It’s always nice to have friends with an Adderall prescription,” says one USC student.
Another student went on to say that the drug keeps her awake when she is trying to study and is like a miracle drug during exam time.
More and more students are finding ways to get their hands on amphetamines illegally by buying them from their friends with prescriptions says USC's Poison Center Managing Director Jill Michels.
USC junior Hannah Harvell was diagnosed with ADD when she was in high school and has been taking amphetamines ever since.
“I really can’t get throughout the day without Adderall,” says Harvell, “I just can’t do day to day tasks without it.”
She says that some of her friends beg her for her medication, especially around exam time.
“Some people will text me and be like ‘Can I buy Adderall from you?’ And I don’t want to get in trouble so usually I say ‘oh sorry I can’t do that’ or ‘I don’t have anymore.’ I have to make up something because I don’t want to be rude, but at the same time I don’t want to get myself in trouble for something that’s not worth it at all,” says Harvell.
Possessing the drug without a prescription is illegal, and anyone caught buying or selling the drug is breaking the law.
"People who take the drug and are not prescribed to it are also putting themselves at risk," says Dr. Michels. “It can increase your heart rate, your blood pressure, cause a lot of anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and decrease your appetite.”
Amphetamines are also highly addictive.They are considered a schedule two drug, which means they are considered as addictive as morphine and Oxicotin.
“It’s a highly addictive medication,” says Dr. Michels. “It has potent side effects to it, so it’s not safe to take unless directed by a doctor and taken as properly prescribed by that doctor.”
Dr. Michels says that she hopes students will take the risks of these drugs seriously and not take them if they are not prescribed to them. Harvell just hopes that her friends with stop hounding her for her medication.