Abuse of ADD/ADHD Medications on College Campuses

Adderall can't pass without it

Adderall can’t pass without it

Colleges should enforce the no-sale of ADD/ADHD medications along with informing students of the dangers of taking pills that are not prescribed to them and the legal consequences of getting caught selling the medications.

When taking ADD/ADHD medications, the drug can cause serious effects when a person doesn’t have ADD/ADHD, which can lead to permanent harm to the brain. According to the article, “This is Your Brain On Adderall” a person’s brain suffering from ADHD or ADD does not release the necessary amount of norepinephrine and dopamine, which cause the brain to concentrate. For those who do not have ADD/ADHD, their brain already has the required amount of these chemicals. Medicines such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta cause the brain to release these chemicals in order for the brain to concentrate at the rate of a normal brain. When someone who does not suffer from ADD/ADHD takes one of these medications for instance, the brain becomes over-simulated that can lead to muscle tension, restlessness, headaches, nausea, and even a racing heart (Philips). Only students with ADD/ADHD can have the safe benefit intended by the drugs when taking their medications.

Students who take ADD/ADHD pills who are not ADD/ADHD, in order to get ahead are putting those who actually do suffer from the disorder at a great disadvantage. Rock Center with Brian Williams recently made a video evaluating the illegal buying and selling of ADD/ADHD medications. The video observed a scandal, which occurred at Columbia University, discussing how a student went from being a buyer of ADD/ADHD medications, to an addict, to a seller. The student describes why he and many other college students take the medications and how they become addicted. He claims that he became addicted due to how concentrated the drug made him and how easy it was for him to complete homework assignments and succeed on exams (ADHD). When students who have the required amounts of chemicals to concentrate continue to take the ADD/ADHD medications, they are again putting themselves ahead of those who have the disorder, making it extremely unfair.

Rock Center With Brian Williams

Recent research has shown that it is now becoming easier for students to fake having ADD/ADHD. The book, Everything You Need to Know About ADD/ADHD discusses the symptoms and characteristics of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The book aids the argument towards how easy it can be for people, students in particular, to make a fake having ADD/ADHD to a doctor. Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta, are easily prescribed now due to the easy ways in which people can learn to act like they have ADD/ADHD. Based on the book, a diagnosis is reached based on the following observations, being easily distracted, difficulty paying attention, listening, organizing, and completing tests, avoidance of tasks, tendency to lose and forget things, constant fidgeting, running, climbing, squirming, and talking excessively (Beal). Symptoms of ADD/ADHD, such as these can easily be found online or in books, which can lead to more students faking the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in order to receive the medications.

As stated previously, Rock Center with Brian Williams researched a recent scandal at Columbia University; the student involved stated to the reporter that getting the Adderall was “as easy as getting books at the bookstore” (ADHD). Not only do students have easy access to ADD/ADHD medications by faking the symptoms to licensed professionals, but also students actually suffering from ADD/ADHD will often give away their prescribed drugs to fellow students, but with a cost. As easy and casual as it seems, students, both buying and selling the medications, fail to consider the consequences. According to an FBI agent, Robert L. Hill, identified in the Rock Center with Brian Williams’s video, distributing ADD/ADHD medications is “treated in the same class as cocaine, oxycontin, roxycodone. You can be arrested and charged with a felony because you are violating the law;” it is considered an illegal distribution and can lead to jail time as well (ADHD).

With the serious legal consequences of buying and selling ADD/ADHD medications and the physical harm they can cause to a brain that is not ADD/ADHD, it would be reasonable to think that colleges would enforce harsher punishment when dealing with this subject. Colleges must become more aware of the distribution of ADD/ADHD medications on their campuses, they must impose harsher punishment on those who buy and sell, and inform students of the dangerous and legal outcomes of using the medications that are not prescribed to them, in order to create a safer and fair environment for their students.

“ADHD Drugs Become Popular, Dangerous Study Solution for Students.” Rock Center with Brian Williams. National Broadcasting Company. WNBC, New York City. 16 Oct. 2012. Web.


Beal, Eileen. Everything You Need To Know About ADD/ADHD. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 1998. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

Philips, Christina. “This Is Your Brain On Adderall.” The Campus Companion. The Campus Companion, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.


Merrow, John. “ADD Déjà Vu.” Big Education Ape. N.p., 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
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