They’re study drugs. Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse–you name it. The plague of prescription pills, with their often dangerous side effects, has been heavily reported by major media outlets but still continue to dominate finals week on college campuses across the country. And Senator Chuck Schumer wants to do something about it (in New York, at least).
“Academic doping,” Schumer called it in a midtown press conference yesterday; this notion of abusing ADHD medication for academic gain, something that the senator has projected for 15 to 35 percent of college students. As a result, he’s asking for both private and public institutions to implement tougher students or discontinue prescriptions from student health centers all together.
“We want SUNY and our private colleges to start being careful when it comes to these drugs,” he said. “They can be Adderall and similar amphetamines and not under a doctor’s supervision can become addictive and abusing them by themselves can lead to depression, anxiety and even psychosis.”
Schumer’s process to “start being careful” hopes to cut back the seemingly free-wheeling nature of student health centers with relation to these prescription handouts. So his solution is this: track the mental and medical after-effects of prescribed students; get parents and practitioners to sign off on diagnoses; and conduct informational workshops at orientation and during the semester.
Oh, and replace Adderall with tons of caffeine. “There are better ways to pull an all-nighter and stay up,” he said. “There’s coffee, there’s things like NoDoz.” Sources (myself) can confirm that.
But take it from a newly post-grad student like myself: When it comes to obtaining drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, where there’s a will, there’s a way–one person’s prescription can equal 10 others’ use. Luckily, Schumer understands how the trade works a bit, especially after penning the anti-drug-crime Safe Doses Act.
“For somebody to call up and say ‘well, my doctor prescribed it at home, send me pills, here’s the prescription number,’ that’s not good enough,” the Senator said. “If a student gets 100 or 200 Adderall pills, even if they are legitimately entitled, they may lend a bunch to their friends.”
You got it, Chuck.