There is an increasing problem with college students abusing stimulant medications such as ADHD medications. In my paper I observed the problem college schools are having with substance abuse, potential reasons why this is happening and how we can put an end to it. I used research conducted my others to support my findings and arguments and to help better understand the problem this is.
Stimulant Abuse Among College Students
Whether it be academic, social, or athletic there is an increasing amount of stress for success on college students these days that is leading to the rise in prescription stimulants all over America. Stimulant abuse is defined as the misused of substances--amphetamines, cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine--to increase the function of the central nervous system (Scaterelli, 2008). Observations and studies of competitive college students can provide both answers as to why this problem is occurring and solutions to end abuse of these prescription drugs. An increased pressure to do well in school, an increased number of prescriptions, and an increased ignorance in regards to the stimulants being abused are just a couple of the possible reasons that such drugs are becoming so popular. To stop usage we should start educating students about the stimulants and their harm, regulate the amount of stimulants prescribed and make laws regarding Type II drugs--both selling and possessing--stricter. There is obvious abuse in both prescribed and non-prescribed users, but one may first wonder how stimulants actually work in the brain and how they differ between people with and without ADHD. The main stimulant drugs abused are dextroampethamines (Adderall and Dexedrine) and methamphetamines (Ritalin and Concerta) and the effect they have on the body is described as a feeling somewhat stronger than the effect of caffeine but weaker than that of cocaine. ADHD stimulants boost two different neurotransmitters in the brain, dopamine, which causes memory formation and addictive behavior, and norepinephrine, which is linked to arousal and attentiveness (Berridge, 2006). In people with ADHD and ADD, these neurotransmitters are lacking and can be brought into balance by taking these medicines. While users that do not have either disorder also benefit from the heightened concentration that the medicines offer, they run the extreme risk of addiction. Researchers have seen this in many students who say things such as, ‘“I don’t think I’m addicted…I just can’t imagine not taking it”’ (Berridge, 2006). This shows the dependence students find after taking the stimulants and how hard it can be to stop after the fact. Population
Recent studies show that the amount of abuse of stimulant drugs has increased significantly over the past decade. Researchers Low and Gendaszek observed that in more recent times more prescriptions for stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall have been given out, which inevitably has caused the increase of non-prescribed users. In the Low and Gendaszek (2002) study, 35.5% of the convenience sample population of a small college in the US admitted abuse of prescribed amphetamines; the most being in white males or students in the Greek system. Though the study catalogues only a single school's percentage of abuse, an emerging trend that sees students seeking an easier means of success in academics--and the perception that the drugs are relatively safe--is becoming commonplace at colleges all over the United States.
One step to determining how to stop the abuse of stimulant medication is to figure out both who the main abusers are and how they have access to the medications. In the spring of 2003 McCane, Teter and Boyd (2006) conducted a survey at a large Midwestern University to examine the relationship between medical and illicit use of prescription stimulants among undergraduate students. Their results showed the most usage...
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