By Joseph Iemma
According to WebMD.com, “Adderall is a combination of stimulants (amphetamine and dextroampetamine) which help combat the side effects of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).” This drug, which can only be provided by prescription, helps the consumer concentrate, pay attention, and also subdues any fidgeting the consumer may have before taking the drug.
So if you don’t have ADHD, why may you be offered it in the future? Ask Richard Sherman, an All-Pro NFL cornerback, and Super Bowl Champion. Sherman, who graduated from Stanford with a degree in Communications, as well as a 4.0 G.P.A., was suspended for four NFL games in 2013, under the NFL’s P.E.D. [Performance Enhancing Drug] Policy. Sherman’s suspension was later overturned for lack of evidence, but NFL has made it clear that Adderall provides an unfair advantage for any player without ADHD.
“It gives players an unnatural and drug induced sense of concentration, allowing them to study hours upon hours of game time, it’s cheating in my book,” said New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin in a December press conference.
Cheating in sports is no surprise, but there is growing concern among students across the nation, even among students here at LIU Post, that Adderall has infiltrated college campuses.
“I’ve seen some of my classmates take Adderall hours before a final exam once,” said Tanner Anderson, a freshman English major. “I asked why they took it, and they’ve all said the same thing, you don’t lose focus.” Anderson also said that none of his classmates had ADHD or any form of attention deficit disorder when they were taking Adderall. This frightened me, in large part because Adderall is only provided by prescription, and students are potentially putting their health at risk, just to pass a test.
According to WebMD, side effects of Adderall may include “Nausea, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, and in some cases a decrease in kidney function.”
“I’ve taken it for two days before my calculus final in order to prep for the test,” said Jack McAllister, a Post alumni who graduated during the Fall Semester of 2013. “Am I proud of it? I’ll be honest, I’m impartial about it. I wanted to pass, I had to pass, and I passed. Did Adderall help me? Yeah, but did Adderall take the test for me? No, I did.”
With all this coming to light, it’s evident that colleges are not immune to the Adderall Epidemic sweeping the nation. How are students getting their hands on Adderall? “Some just steal it from a family member, other’s get it from a friend, it’s all over,” McAllister said.
It appears the fear of failure drives students to the brink in order to pass their classes. Thus, are we pushing our students to hard? Or are our students just using Adderall as a wonder drug, sacrificing two days at the end of the semester to binge study on notes, as opposed to studying periodically throughout the semester. Is Adderall cheating? The NFL views it as such, and personally, I do as well.
My parents always preached that honesty and integrity were what really defines a person. I believe Adderall, when used without a prescription, is cheating. It provides students who are not prescribed this drug with an unnatural and unfair advantage when it comes to studying.
Studying for three hours can be challenging, but studying for eight hours straight without breaking attention, all thanks to a drug, is ludicrous, and made possible because of this drug. It’s also unfair to the students who chooses to study drug-free, because now, the playing field for students is unequal.
You will begin hearing whispers of students earning not just better test grades, but scholarships, because of Adderall use. This will leave students who choose to study drug-free unmotivated to further their education, or worse, lead other students to use Adderall illegally.
I believe Adderall is an issue that is turned a blind eye to by our education system, and will ultimately destroy not just our education system, but worse, our youth, if it is not banned from educational institutions.
On one last note, it is worth mentioning that I grew up idolizing ball players such as Alex Rodriquez, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. After I discovered that these men used performance enhancing drugs, and essentially cheated, I turned my back to the game of baseball. Others, like me, followed suit. Now, one may argue that baseball has been severely handicapped by the use of steroids within their ranks, and according to television ratings and revenue, one can come to the conclusion that baseball’s popularity, and people’s faith in the game, has suffered as a result of steroids.
I’d hate to see people lose even more faith in our education system here in America. I would also hate to see students’ lives be destroyed, or handicapped in any way by the use of illegal prescription drugs, just for the sake of “earning” better grades.