Students in State College are just over halfway through the fall semester which means one major concern is on the mind: midterms. At this point in the year many students start to feel the added pressures of balancing many obligations from academic to extracurricular.
To maintain a healthy and productive balance, many students turn to positive resources such as a tutor, writing center, study group or approaching professors and teaching assistants for extra help. While there are many beneficial resources student can consider, some choose to take another approach.
The use of prescription-strength stimulants as study enhancing tools remains prevalent on college campuses across the country. Students who choose to use these drugs typically do so as a means to power through last minute work. Though the immediate effects of these drugs feel short-lived, the long-term medical and legal ramifications should be a sufficient deterrent for students buying, using or selling these drugs.
Health risks from using non-prescribed drugs
Prescription stimulants used as study enhancing drugs typically include those used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Commonly used drugs include Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Dexedrine. These medications help those with the aforementioned conditions regulate energy, alertness and attention levels.
For those without a prescribed need for the drugs, these are the appealing factors related to using the medications for study purposes. While these effects last a short time, they can have negative health effects in the long term.
The release of dopamine and norepinephrine in these drugs leads to an increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, breathing rates and restricted blood flow. Repeated use without a doctor’s dosage and advisement can result in major consequences to your health including irregular heartbeat, seizures or total heart failure.
Illegal activity on campus
Students at Penn State admit to buying or otherwise obtaining prescription stimulants as a study tool, some as frequently as multiple times per week. About one in five college students report using study drugs at least once throughout their college career. For students with prescriptions for the drugs, more than 60 percent reported selling or otherwise providing the drugs to others.
While the jolt of energy and attentiveness is a short-lived side effect, the consequences of selling, buying or using prescription stimulants can last a lifetime. Not only is a person’s health at risk when using drugs without a prescription, but this illegal activity could derail your future long beyond a midterm or final exam period.
Students and their parents need to understand the potential ramifications from drug possession, sale and use. The costs far outweigh the benefits. Consider utilizing the many legal, productive strategies for coping with a heavy workload in school without turning to dangerous illegal activity.