Getting in the Zone: Adderrall

December 10, 2011

Political Theory

Winter is coming and so are exams. Time to buckle down.

In the upcoming weeks the University of Michigan shuts down. Students stay inside to avoid the weather and everyone is just a little more on edge. Although lethargic, gloomy, and often angry, an alarming number of Michigan students are actually wired and highly motivated. The issue arises when this energy and motivation costs five to ten dollars, a text message, and a trip out of your room.

Adderrall is a mixture of amphetamine salts that act as glorified speed. It reduces hunger and rids you of fatigue. It allows you to study for hours on end without a distracting thought. Sounds great, right? Not so much. To begin, Adderrall rapidly increases heart rate, causes nausea, restlessness, weakness, and weight loss, among multitudes of other side effects. Although these side effects are unfortunate, they are not the issue at hand. Adderrall is extremely addictive and its social acceptance and nonchalant use only perpetuate said addiction. There are constant stories about students not being able to study without Adderrall, or stories of stressed-out students taking Adderrall once for a big exam and taking it every night after that.


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration upwards of 6.4% of college students have reported using non-prescribed amphetamines to study for tests. I am sure that the number is higher. It is not an uncommon sight during exam week on the fourth floor UGLI to see diligent students slyly take a pill and continue to study for the next fourteen hours. Adderrall usage is rampant and officially socially acceptable.

But this is not a blog to lecture on the known adverse side effects of habitual Adderrall abuse.

Adderrall alleviates the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and allows people who suffer from these inhibiting diseases to function. But not everyone who is prescribed Adderrall has been officially diagnosed with either disease.


This is how Adderrall has gotten the reputation of being a wealthy man’s drug. In affluent areas, doctors are viciously over prescribing Adderrall because insurance rarely covers the cost of a prescription, a great means of profit for the doctor, and parents have the money to purchase the prescriptions. Parents are purchasing their children a prescription to make them better students and hopefully end up at a good university and finish with a great job. Often, this happens.

In less affluent areas, parents cannot afford the prescription, even those who have children diagnosed with ADD. These children are left to suffer from a learning disability that is conveniently treatable, while twenty year olds without the disease throw back these pills to study for the night. The less fortunate kids are unjustly left to struggle with their education on top of the all the other hardships they most likely face.

The benefits of taking a study buddy goes without saying:  hours of relentless focus, rids you of fatigue and hunger, and basically allows you to be the best. But Adderrall is not available to everyone. It is available only to those who can afford it. It broadens the gap between the upper class and the middle class. It gives a distinct advantage to the rich and definitely helps them succeed. Edmund Burke, a believer of class separation, would view Adderrall and its abuse as an inevitable means for the rich to get richer and eventually help the poor. He would agree that the cost of Adderrall is appropriate because it’s only available to the rich and if the less fortunate could afford it society would fail because of a lack of upper and lower classes.

Adderrall is beneficial for those who need it, and can afford it. It is also beneficial for the Michigan student that has five hours to complete a days worth of work. With that being said do not abuse it, the addiction is never ceasing and overwhelming.“study-buddy”-or-road-to-brave-new-world/



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10 Comments on “Getting in the Zone: Adderrall”

  1. wjpetok24 Says:

    This blog is quite controversial, but brings up an underlying problem on college campuses across America. Given the nature of college academics and the rigors of studying at an institution like Michigan, I am not surprised to learn of abuse of Adderall and other “study drugs” to help get by and pass in school.

    The author brings up a legitimate point about the societal acceptance of Adderall, and to be honest it is quite disturbing. It is recognized as a drug capable of abuse and harm, yet is taken widely and recreationally by students. The act of cramming for an exam on Adderall is essentially cheating for those not prescribed, and allows for a sense of entitlement for students who think they can simply take a pill and not respect the educational process.

    However, given its prevalence across our Universities, my opinion could be in the minority. I am in no way condemning the use of the drug for those prescribed, but abuse is a whole other situation and should not be tolerated.

  2. adamklein1 Says:

    I agree that adderall has become one of the most abused prescription drugs on the market over the past 5 years and is clearly becoming a serious problem, which we can see from the DEA shutting down manufacturers for the end of 2011. However as far as prescription drugs go, scripts of adderall and other amphetamines such as ritalin and concerta are relatively cheap and easily available to those who need it.
    Maybe some lower class families wouldn’t be able to provide the medication but I don’t believe that this will cause separation between the middle and upper class. A more interesting abuse of the drug I believe is coming from parents who are taking their children meds in order to complete their work.

    • beaurh Says:

      My intentions were to speak about amphetamines and study drugs as a whole, not adderrall specifically. Also, I speak of the high prices of many of these drugs (Vyvanse for example) when the patient does not have insurance, a problem that many low-income families suffer from. I apologize for the misunderstandings.

  3. julieele Says:

    Adderall was initially a drug to treat people with ADHD and create an even playing field for them among their peers. It is now a drug that is used recreationally and gives an upper hand to those who can afford it. The abuse of this drug allows for cheating and creates an unfair advantage for those who are able to use it. I do agree that it does bridge a gap between students. Students that use Adderall are able to spend a large sum of money in order to succeed academically and hopefully succeed in the long term. I personally believe that Adderall is an unfair drug that allows only certain students to succeed and I think that it’s sad that some students feel the need to rely on drugs like this to overcome societal pressures.

  4. rfieds Says:

    This post is a very interesting one, which brings up an extremely controversial issue in our contemporary society. Adderall is a drug for those diagnosed with ADHD and has developed into a drug recreationally used by college students and others alike. I think that the people who take this drug view it as a way for them to be able to concentrate better on their studies and excel in their classes. I do not think it is at all a form of cheating. If students want to pay the money for adderall because they think the short and long term benefits of it are positive, then so be it. Why restrict people from using a drug that in effect makes them more focused and better students? Nevertheless, I think that there should be a greater regulation on who can attain the pills in order to restore the fact that the drug does not become completely abused. I think that the drug is fair and that it should be regulated more so it is not haphazardly thrown around.

  5. elmatts25 Says:

    I don’t think the issue of study drug abuse has much to do with SES. When insured, a months prescription of Adderall costs just $5. I understand that student’s without health insurance would not be able to afford Adderall, but there are also MANY other things they would not then be able to afford which would severely inhibit or prevent them from doing well in school.

    Even if they did not have ADD or ADHD they might not be able to afford treatment for other health issues. In my social psychology class, we recently learned that it is a proven fact that people in lower SES groups have significantly more health issues than those in higher SES. This is due primarily to two reasons: living environment (less green space), and limited access to resources (health insurance, doctors, etc.) (Gilovich 2010). Knowing this, I do not believe that it is only study drugs that widen the gap between the rich and poor. Additionally, the negative side effects and addictive qualities are risks people take with many drugs these days. Simply because they exists is not a reason not to take the drug. When prescribed, patients are well informed of the side effects and have the choice to take the drug or not.

    In conclusion, illegal use of Adderall should not be tolerated, but students with Adderall prescriptions should not be punished. No matter what SES, students who legally take Adderall for academic reasons are taking a medication that will help alleviate symptoms of a disease with which they have been diagnosed.

    Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (2010). Social Psychology. (2nd ed.). New York; London: W. W. Norton & Co.

  6. habavol Says:

    I agree with you. Adderrall is being abused by people who don’t even need it. I know many people who take certain drugs to help them focus and study for hours on end. Some people I know can’t even begin to work without taking something, like they’re dependent on it. I find this to a be a terrible problem because what are they going to do for the rest of their lives? They can’t take drugs their whole life and rely on it as their only way for success. Having a full time job and a family to care for is more stressful than studying, and they shouldn’t rely on a drug to get them by, it’s wrong. And taking pills in general is bad for your body, so it needs to be recognized that this is a growing problem.

  7. mpogoda3 Says:

    I agree with your overlying concern of the issue, and think that there needs to be steps taken to ensure that the right people actually get the drugs that they need. The problem with this, is how does that happen? I think a big problem is what you mentioned that Adderall is not covered by insurance and the doctors are handing it out solely to make a profit. The solution seems to be a stricter prescribing tactic of the drug. Because the effects of Adderall have been so trivialized by college students across the country that it seems like no big deal when its taken. If people actually understood how much this can hurt someone who does not have a learning disorder, maybe some would stop taking it. In terms of your comments on people in poorer communities, I agree that it is sad that they do not have access to the drug.

  8. lukeythekid Says:

    People’s addictions and abuses of Adderrall are especially relevant these days, when even those who actually need it for ADD are having trouble acquiring it. I know people who take these drugs on a regular basis, and yet kids who suffer greatly from it cannot even fill their prescriptions at the pharmacy. Because of abuse, production was restricted, leading to “The Great Adderall Shortage of 2011.” I read an article in which a woman complained that it was easier to illegally buy her Adderrall from unlicensed drug dealers than it was to go to Walgreens and fill her actual prescription. This is pretty crazy, and a little unnerving how much of an effect that these sales have had on the legitimate market for ADD medications. It is a testament to the prevalence of black market Adderrall that they have managed to effect that entire segment of the drug industry.

  9. reidmech7892 Says:

    Naturally, it is human nature to seek a way to be the best and perform at maximum capacity. In this case, some believe that the ends justify the means; in other words, they are willing to take a pill not prescribed to them, perhaps unknowing of its side effects, solely for the chance to study longer for an exam. Personally this actually sounds appealing to me: the opportunity to study for longer hours and focus in an unnatural mind-set. Though appealing, I also believe that taking Aderrall is cheating and should be controlled and monitored better.

    As pointed out, it seems way too easy for students to find and purchase adderal, especially at college campuses. All it takes is a quick phone call to someone with a prescription, which seems to be a multitude of students. To prevent this, the doctor monitoring and prescribing the person should be given screenings or tests to see if they are taking the drug monthly. If they are not and the person does not have the pills with them, it would become obvious that the person was giving them away and as a result of this should be immediately taken off the drug.

    In all, adderal is a chemical masterpiece, allowing a person to sit down, focus, and study for hours efficiently. However, it really should only be taken by people who have ADD and ADHD. Obviously, it will be hard for people from low-income to afford the drugs. However, an easy way to solve this would be for insurance companies help fun the drug, which would allow the poor to obtain it and limit the doctor’s from prescribing the drug so freely to willing, affluent clients.

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