It’s the same story every finals week: you’re in the library, jammed into one of those small booths, forcing yourself to keep your bleary eyes open. You’re pouring over the same textbook, hoping that if you keep on reading the same paragraph over and over, academic osmosis will occur and it will sink into your brain. You can barely sleep, you have no energy, and you feel like you’re past your breaking point. What can you do to avoid a complete mental breakdown because of all the stress? How can you assure that you keep focused and driven during this week of academic hell?

While the college has implemented some activities to help alleviate stress, like petting puppies in the student center, massages, and 24-hour quiet hours in dorm rooms, some students are turning to illegal substances for an added boost.

I’m sure this is not the first time most readers will be hearing about this trend of students who have been actually diagnosed with ADD or ADHD selling some of their pills to help their peers, or people who are looking for some Adderall to help them study.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4% of college students have admitted to using Adderall for nonmedical use in 2006 and 2007, and as the pressure of doing well in college in order to secure a job post-graduation grows, that percentage is getting higher.  In 2009 ABC News reported the trend is running rampant on college campuses, with approximately 1 out of 5 students having abused the drug.

Adderall serves as a stimulant in order to control symptoms of people diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. Adderall is used to deter the symptoms of ADD, including forgetfulness, constantly being late or disorganized, or hyperactivity and lack of focus. While it is perfectly safe for the treatment of ADD, it’s extremely dangerous for people to use it for nonmedical reasons.

Side effects of using Adderall for nonmedical reasons include insomnia, headache, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, and even depression and hallucinations. Adderall abuse can also lead to reliance and addiction.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Adderall has effects similar to cocaine and methamphetamine.

ABC News reported last year that a student at Vanderbilt, Kyle Craig, felt the pressure of academic success, as he saw his peers attaining 3.8 and 4.0 GPA’s, he was worried his 3.5 wouldn’t be able to compete in the business world once they all graduated. For $10, he was able to buy the small blue pill, but that little blue pill also cost him his life.

This is just one horrifying example of the damaging effects of Adderall. As the amount of diagnosed cases of ADD increases (one in two people according to the CDC), so has the abuse of Adderall, since it is becoming more and more commonplace for students to have the drug. As academic pressure continues to increase, so does the opportunity for Adderall abuse, and the devastatingly harmful effects of the drug aren’t worth the 4.0 GPA.

No one is going to say the pressure of academics isn’t enough to get to the best of us sometimes. Juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activity, athletics, and time with friends is a tough task, but abusing drugs is not the answer. With proper planning and prioritizing, everyone at Keene State College should have the ability to plow through their work come finals week. There are plenty of activities that can be done to alleviate stress without going about it in an illegal way. While Adderall may be the quick fix for now, the damaging effects of the drug later can have a terribly lasting impact on your life. Think twice before you abuse drugs, it could cost you more than a slightly lower GPA.


Whitney Cyr can be contacted at


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