Study drugs still common among students

“Study drugs” may be good for pulling an all-nighter, but students admit there are downs that come with the ups.

From studying for the SAT in high school to taking college exit exams, students for years have been delving into the world of the study drug to reach new heights in concentration highs by obtaining it illegally for all-night study cram jams.

But there are a lot of serious side effects and repercussions for the use of these concentration infiltration brain-based pills.

The most often use for the study drug, such as Adderall or Ritalin, is to study and concentrate for upcoming tests or to stay up and complete assignments as the drugs provide a more intense focus for those who choose to abuse it.

Lauren, a biology major at College of Charleston, first used Adderall in high school to prepare for the SAT.

“It was an all-day study session, so I wanted to get as much out of it as I could,” she said. The drug worked and Lauren felt “more focused and instead of a body high it was more of a head high that kept you on the task at hand.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Adderall and Ritalin’s acute effects include: increased alertness, attention, energy, irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperature and potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.

Withdrawal symptoms include depression, fatigue, increased appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams and psychomotor retardation or agitation.

“It helped me to concentrate and do things faster and be more aware…It was like a PG version of coke,” says Marie, a psychology major at College of Charleston. “You are awake and you’re wired and good to go for hours.”

After the high started to disappear, Marie stopped visiting the drug so often. “I stopped taking it because it didn’t help as much and I started to just get the teeth-grinding, sweaty feeling and not so much the alert, ready to rock feeling anymore.”

Eliza, a communications major at College of Charleston, started using the drugs to help her study for finals.

“I felt very focused with a lot of energy,” she said. “I felt confident that I could get all of my school work done. I couldn’t really eat or sleep while I was on it.”

Physically, Eliza felt rigid. “My muscles were tense, and I kind of felt nauseous a little bit. I got a headache. I had to pee a lot.”

Just like Marie and Lauren, Eliza obtains the drugs illegally.

“Yea, a lot of people have prescriptions, but people without prescriptions can get them,” she added, usually from friends who have prescriptions. “People sell their pills sometimes.”

– by Sarah Carver

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