The Smart Drug

Shelby Dwyer, Reporter

Adderall, otherwise known as the “smart drug,” has been circulating around populations of teenagers and young adults ever since 1996 – when “Richwood Pharmaceuticals first introduced Adderall to the public as an instant-release tablet,” according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Adderall is best known to be prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, a “chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness,”  as defined by the Mayo Clinic.

It has also been used in order to treat narcolepsy, a “chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Adderall is made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine; two stimulants.

Unfortunately, Adderall has been abused, over-prescribed, and as a whole, ADHD has been misdiagnosed for too many humans of all ages claiming they ‘need’ Adderall to function.

Within the past twenty-or-so years, there has been roughly a 70-percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD within America; according to CNBC.  In 1997-1998, 6.1 percent of children were diagnosed with the chronic disorder, while in 2015-2016, 10.2 percent of children were diagnosed with the victim of an era full of Adderall prescriptions and abuse.

Although prescribing Adderall to young children can be controversial, the disorder is still taken seriously among the parents of the victims, psychologists, and society. In a study through “Understood,” a nonprofit organization for children with learning or attention issues, it was found that ADHD has a heavy impact on learning. In school, teachers picked up that students with ADHD would start assignments without completing them, constantly blurt out thoughts, “space out” during lectures, or simply just get frustrated whilst working in a group.

Yet there are still ways that teachers can help their students before disciplining them or suggesting to the school psychologist that they need to be put on a daily dose of Adderall. Students can be placed closer to the teacher for a better classroom experience, seek guidance with organizing their homework or supplies, or even be rewarded for good behavior.

So, if your child is prescribed with Adderall, what are the short and long term effects? Besides creating a psychological and physical dependence, Adderall leaves physical damage to the brain, internal systems, and organs according to the American Addiction Center. The AAC also claims that the increase of dopamine activity due to Adderall will completely alter the human brain’s experience to feel pleasure without the drug. Regarding this, the association also claim that emotional “withdrawal” can occur, promoting low moods, mood swings, irritability, or fatigue. Adderall can also promote insomnia, weight loss, tremors, heart disease, and hyperactivity. This beloved “smart drug”, is more addictive than it appears.

Adderall has stemmed out further than just children though; it also affects college students who cram for their upcoming exams and projects. Adderall is floating around college campuses all of the time, ready to be sold and bought. According to the AAC, 30% of students at the University of Kentucky alone confessed to abusing the drug. At other campuses, such as at Ivy League schools, students consider Adderall as the “Ivy League Addiction.” According to The Business Insider, “20% of Ivy League students used an unprescribed study aid at least once… 33% did not view the use as cheating.”

Whether or not Adderall is helping children in need or creating addictions from childhood, the drug truly is one of the most over-prescribed and abused. Adderall was created as a way to help those who suffered from ADHD or ADD; now it’s seen by many Americans as uncontrolled and dangerous to those who get the drug without a prescription.