There was recently a must-read article about the dangers of adderall in the New York Times written by Alan Schwarz. In the article, it mentions that between 8% and 35% of students are thought to use stimulants to help them study, with Adderall being the most common. When used as prescribed by patients to treat ADHD, Adderall has been shown to be safe and effective. But when abused, it can be extremely dangerous, not to mention illegal. To get around this concern, some students are lying to doctors in order to obtain prescriptions so that they can use the drug to study for exams or stay up all night writing term papers. Over time, higher dose Adderall may be needed to get the “jolt” students are after and these higher doses of Adderall can lead to side effects like trouble sleeping, elevated temperature and aggression, hallucinations and paranoia. At least in one case, Adderall addiction seemed to contribute to the suicide of a young college student.
In this tragic case, Richard Fee was abusing Adderall, yet “He had it in his mind that because it came from a doctor, it was O.K.”. Drugs like Adderall clearly can be beneficial when used appropriately, but they should be noted for their serious potential for abuse.