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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Muscle up the mind

The juice age is finally over after steroids nearly ruined professional baseball, according to my always reputable news source, Radar Online. They say a new drug scandal is now rocking the sport - and it involves a tiny pill that college students are pretty familiar with.
Yes, I am talking about Adderall.
The Web site pointed to the messy separation of former star player, Jason Kendall, and his wife, Chantel. Their 3,000 page divorce file contained Chantel blowing Jason in for Adderall abuse and causing a reported fury in her husband similar to roid rage.
"[Adderall] is widespread in professional sports and major league baseball because of its performance enhancing qualities," Chantel said. "[Jason] has been prescribed Adderall for Attention Deficit Disorder, but I can attest that the amount of Adderall taken by him and his mood swings have escalated since he was originally prescribed such medication."
But that's as much sports talk that you're going to get out of me - professional athletes are just discovering the performance altering effects of a drug that college students have been using for years now.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports around 6 percent of our peers has taken Adderall for non-medical purposes. I think this number is really closer to 30 or 40 percent because students aren't going to honestly report their own drug use.
Although it's kept hush, Adderall, the brand name psychostimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is everywhere on college campuses. It can be bought and sold in libraries, cafeterias, dorm rooms, and anywhere in between. During exam week, the demand for the drug can shoot up its price to $25 a pill, according to National Public Radio.
Personally, it seems the drug has surrounded me throughout my own undergraduate career. Freshman year I had a roommate who faked ADHD symptoms to get a hold of a prescription. She quickly became addicted and lost nearly 30 pounds a short time after. And one of my best friends who doesn't attend UB started having heart problems after she was prescribed the drug that she didn't need.
But what could cause those close to me to continue to take something that was obviously bad for their health?
The answer was they wanted to do it all, just like any other college student.
Juggling school, work, and a social life, those in academia are overcommitted to an extreme. Many rely on brain enhancers like Adderall to do more and sleep less.
But just like anything that seems too good to be true, Adderall is no different. Not only is the drug highly addictive, it's accompanied with serious side effects like insomnia, mood changes, and cardiovascular problems. The FDA even reported in 2006 that 51 Americans had died as a result of the drug.
And in the opinion of someone who runs solely on coffee and the occasional Red Bull to stay up late and study, Adderall is cheating the same way a professional athlete injecting steroids to gain an edge in their game is cheating.
It's true that the same brain is utilized whether you're using Adderall or not; however, on the drug that could basically be considered prescription cocaine, that brain is being amped up to concentrate harder and study longer. It's not natural and not fair to the rest of us who have to plan our studying around our work and sleep schedules.
Yes, college is hard, but life after a degree will most likely be even more difficult. And although Adderall may seem like a wonder drug for many students now, they can't take it forever.
Those who aren't suffering from ADHD should lay off the performance enhancers so they can learn to build up their own study skills and work ethic – and we can all play this college game on an even playing field.




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