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11 November 2012

Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills

There is a scene in the recent film “Limitless” where Bradley Cooper takes a pill for the first time, resulting in an exponential increase in focus, memory and mental drive. The colors surrounding him become more vivid, and the small details of his apartment come to life.

Peeling wallpapers, small golden accents on hardwood banisters, splintered staircases – all of these things stick out like sore thumbs when he’s on this drug. Within 30 minutes of taking the pill, he has cleaned his entire apartment, washed all of his dishes, organized his bookshelf and rearranged all the furniture in his apartment. He also writes a flawless legal brief in 45 minutes.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you realized something about the plot of this movie shortly after this opening scene: Bradley Cooper had just taken a pretty high dosage of Adderall for the first time.

Coming from someone who has taken some form of study drugs for the majority of my life – be it Adderall, Vyvanse or Concerta – the symptoms were all easily recognizable: the desire to be productive as opposed to sitting around and doing nothing, the interest in typically dull subjects and the motivation to viciously clean and organize an entire room.

All of that is clearly the result of Adderall, so forgive me if I didn’t find the concept of the movie’s fictional miracle drug that spellbinding.

But ultimately, how could you blame me? I’m not the only one doing it. A recent University of Kentucky study showed that 50 percent of college students had used some sort of study drug by the time they graduated. That number jumped to 80 percent when considering only members of sororities and fraternities.

Let’s face it: We’ve become an ADHD population.

We like our entertainment to be meaningless and our news in sound bites. Perfect example: Remember the topic of the final presidential debate? Probably not. Now, remember “binders full of women?” Most probably.

You can’t really blame college students for “abusing” study drugs. Another study by the National Survey of Student Engagement showed that engineering majors have to spend an average of 20 hours a week studying. A UCLA study shows that college students face more work and stress than ever before.

And with prescription study drugs being handed out like PEZ candies on campus, why wouldn’t students take advantage of them?

I say “take advantage,” and not “abuse,” because the worst thing that anyone has ever done on Adderall is clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics.

It’s hard to abuse a drug whose main side effects are productivity and finding linear algebra interesting. I can’t list the number of all-nighters I’ve pulled with the help of Concerta in order to cram a semester’s worth of writing into one night.

Medicate, Miami. You’ve earned it. I know you’ve got that killer orgo final coming up. You know, the one that you need to ace or else you’ll never get into medical school.

And if you don’t get into medical school then you won’t get a job, and without a job no one knows if you’ll ever have another date in your life, let alone find a spouse and … uh … wait. I lost my train of thought.

What was I talking about again?

 

Robert Pursell is a senior majoring in journalism. 

74 thoughts on “Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills

  1. To everyone arguing below… I think you’re missing the point.

    Let’s get real. People take adderall. There are clearly horrible side effects. It’s an amphetamine. Do people still take it, frequently? Do people get prescriptions as easily as going to the doctor and saying they can’t focus? I know people that have. Do parents give it to their kids, at a young age and during key points of mental development which could potentially be very harmful? Yes, they do. And we know all of this. But we do it anyway, and this reflects on SO many other things in our society. So instead of getting your panties in a bunch about the author writing a (satirical) article and shamelessly pointing out REALITY, think about the pressures our society (and us too, since we are a part of it) places on us and the world we live in. If you’re honestly offended by this article then I don’t know how you’re going to get by in the real world…

  2. Listen, everyone. Regardless of your stance on the matter, both sides exercised freedom of speech–a right protected by the First Amendment. If you want to prevent things like this from happening in the future, pay attention. Read the Miami Hurricane. Hold your writers to the journalistic standard and let them know that they represent the same University you do.

    We are all students, and we have a right and a duty to represent ourselves, our fellow students, and our university in a positive light to the best of our abilities. Please note that Robert Pursell is a student too, and he is learning how to be a journalist as much as the other writers of the Hurricane. Forgive him, forgive the Miami Hurricane, and move on. Zealots get us nowhere.

  3. If you would like to speak to me personally about your opinions on my article please contact me at (203) 535-7170.

  4. This article is absolutely not satirical, and it makes me ashamed to be a UM student. I can’t believe that this website would publish such garbage.

  5. I took Adderall as a kid and eventually stopped because I found a better drug: Cuban Dad. Every time I screw up in school: THWACK! Cuban Dad! I graduated a couple of years ago and the kids who take this drug were lazy anglo-saxons. The “life’s too easy and boring” crowd. You want motivation to work, go down to Little Havana in the neighborhood my father grew up in. Or better yet purchase a poor immigrant, whatever your preference may be (I am personally most touched by suffering Haitians), and have them moan every time you feel like not doing anything. It’s effective and lets be honest: You have the money.

    *I’m about to go into a second paragraph, so if you’re attention is fleeting we will take a short pill popping break.

    And to the writer of this article: your ideas did not spark conversation, you as a person writing stupidity did. Your editor is not too bright as well so don’t worry because you have company in your sinking ship.I sincerely hope journalism is not your major. God I hope journalism is not even your minor.

  6. I say “take advantage,” and not “abuse,” because the worst thing that anyone has ever done on Adderall is clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics.

    “It’s hard to abuse a drug whose main side effects are productivity and finding linear algebra interesting. I can’t list the number of all-nighters I’ve pulled with the help of Concerta in order to cram a semester’s worth of writing into one night.

    Medicate, Miami. You’ve earned it. I know you’ve got that killer orgo final coming up. You know, the one that you need to ace or else you’ll never get into medical school.”

    …..seriously? You could avoid all of this with just a little TIME MANAGEMENT! I think the whole campus should required to take a class on time management after reading this article.
    My question is are you really ADHD, or just too lazy to take the time to study?

  7. This is disgusting and should be removed from the paper. Endorsing the use of illegal drugs is not something that the Miami Hurricane should be doing. Not that the Hurricane has ever had any journalistic standards, but this is just trash. The Hurricane should issue an apology.

  8. This is just embarrassing to publish under the University of Miami name. So what if it is an opinion piece? I could make an essay with about as much validity on some ludicrous claim and you don’t need to publish it, Miami Hurricane.

    Objectively, this is a poor journalistic piece. So many grammatical errors and holes in your argument.
    Now, if this was supposed to be a parody (and judging by its horribly quality, maybe it is), you can’t become upset at all the people misinterpreting it. It isn’t the fault of the reader if they don’t understand the point of the article.

  9. So, Pursell, rich white kids do Adderall and they graduate with honors. Poor whites crush up Adderall in a meth lab and get jail time. Then, who are you to say that your future CEO, doctor, lawyer, etc. lifestyle is any less trashy then a meth redneck?
    Continue rolling in your class privilege. Atta boy!

  10. You still haven’t addressed my arguments. Until you or the Hurricane staff acknowledge my points, I guess I’ll have no choice but to keep on pushin’.

    I guess you’re not man enough to face my argument directly, since all you’re doing is attacking me (not my words). I might not be a frat boy or a “bro”, but I am a leader. I believe in myself, my words, and my standards of integrity. You’re jumping to conclusions by blindly calling me names before actually getting to know me.

    What do you believe in? YOLO? Sex? Drugs? Rock and roll? What kind of fulfillment do you get from your slimy, hedonistic lifestyle? You can try to justify your personal attacks as much as you like, but in the end, your actions will catch up to you. That might be the ultimate joke of all, and I guess you’ll just have to swallow it.

    As for me, I’ll show you just how much an individual can do!

    Peace,

    Andrew Blitman

  11. I have been an object bystander in this mess, but I would have to disagree with “A Real Bro”. If that is your viewpoint on life, then I am sorry to hear that. Do you really think that is something to be proud of and be represented in our school’s student newspaper?

    Also, no need to personally attack someone with those immature comments.

  12. Listen andy, you have too few friends and too much time on your hands to write such a long post. I dont even use study meds because they make me do everything except study. Am i gonna flip out and write some long comment trying to inform the small amount of individuals who read the comments? No. But i did feel the need to tell you that no one cares. You aren’t going to change the world or the majority of students who choose to take study meds legally or illegally. You may change like what 4-5? I guess that gives you satisfaction so props to you. However stop worrying about what you can’t control aka others’ decisions. Life is a competiton, its survival of the fittest. There will always be those individuals who find a way to gain a competitive edge either legally or illegally. You can try to inform which you have, but was it honestly necessary to repost your extensive arguement again? No it wasnt. So with that being said, please learn to take a joke, maybe become socially adventerous and develop a personality that can take things light heartedly. Do some drugs, trip acid, eat some fungus, blow a line off of a girls vag. Enjoy life man, and if you’re content with being a stigler then i applaude you.

    But seriously learn to take a joke, everyone who reads these comments will know how horrible your comebacks are

  13. Andrew blitman, no one cares what you have to say. You’re a straight edge kid who will never get laid by anything more than a 1 or 2. Stop reposting your response.

  14. Since this article is horrendously written I’m unsure of whether it is a “The Onion”-esque piece or just plain stupid. In any case, people like you who use Adderall to get ahead or to stay afloat sicken me. Nobody “deserves” to use Adderall (unless of course your ADD is real). You are essentially cheating. If you abuse (yes, abuse) Adderall because you can’t manage your time then you probably shouldn’t be in college. You can save Mommy and Daddy a lot of money by majoring in Journalism at the community college where you might be able to handle the workload.

  15. Here’s my recently-shelved response to Pursell’s comment on my site:

    Look, Robert. Life isn’t easy. Education isn’t easy. It requires determination, discipline, and hard work. Your point-of-view is best summarized by the following quotes:

    1. “But ultimately, how could you blame me? I’m not the only one doing it. A recent University of Kentucky study showed that 50 percent of college students had used some sort of study drug by the time they graduated. That number jumped to 80 percent when considering only members of sororities and fraternities.”

    This statement is an appeal to popularity, a justification for prescription drug abuse based on conformity to accepted social standards. It’s like saying, “Everyone else is doing it, and thus so can I”. Furthermore, the numbers you used in that study you improperly referenced don’t even mention things like “80%” or “overall usage”. If you don’t believe me, check the link (which I cited in my article) below:

    “Adderall is Definitely Not a Drug: Justifications for the Illegal Use of ADHD Stimulants”:

    http://www.uky.edu/~addesa01/documents/AdderallisDefinitelyNotaDrug.pdf

    This bandwagon fallacy is repeated in the Staff Editorial (http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2012/11/11/magic-pill-can-enhance-focus-drive/):

    “A New York Times study found that the majority of students who take Adderall illegally do so to be more competitive in school. This makes perfect sense; the bar for students is constantly being raised, pushing them to be smarter, faster and stronger. But some students can’t meet these standards without a little help from Sir Adderall.

    The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.4 percent of full-time college students ages 18 to 22 had misused Adderall. The survey also found that college students fake symptoms in order to get prescriptions. Faking an attention disorder is extremely easy because blood tests can’t prove the diagnosis.”

    However, the Editorial’s argument makes less sense than yours because it cites numbers far smaller than 80%. How does following the 6.4% sound? Pretty stupid from a numerical perspective, right? That barely constitutes a minority, let alone a majority.

    2. “I say “take advantage,” and not “abuse,” because the worst thing that anyone has ever done on Adderall is clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics…Medicate, Miami. You’ve earned it. I know you’ve got that killer orgo final coming up. You know, the one that you need to ace or else you’ll never get into medical school.”

    This statement from your article clearly advocates Adderall abuse. Furthermore, it ignores its side effects–side effects that are clearly mentioned on medication labels for liability reasons. As I stated earlier, several studies have found that attention meds work like placebos for healthy human beings (or, in other words, have no effect on them). Here’s the abstract from a 2012 UPenn study if you want to know more:

    “Objective and subjective cognitive enhancing effects of mixed amphetamine salts in healthy people”: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390812003577

    Furthermore, Alysha Khan contradicted your argument in her own piece by listing some of the potential risks of misusing attention meds: dry mouth, uncontrollable shaking, blurred vision, death, etc. What about you? Do you read labels? I do.

    3. “And if you don’t get into medical school then you won’t get a job, and without a job no one knows if you’ll ever have another date in your life, let alone find a spouse and … uh … wait. I lost my train of thought.”

    You wrote this statement to mislead me, didn’t you? This statement implies that you think ADHD meds are necessary for survival for all students. If you intended something else, please enlighten me!

    Even if I threw out my previous argument (which is chock-full of your own words), I would still need to address the ethical implications of abusing performance-enhancing prescription drugs. In addition to being dangerous, the drugs themselves (or, rather, their abuse) are the reason why students are trying so hard to match a growing workload. If more students are doped-up and can handle higher levels of work, the professors will assign more work to keep those students engaged. The students experience higher levels of stress, and dope themselves even further. It’s a a cycle that feeds itself (or a positive feedback loop).

    What happens to the students who need attention meds to survive? Because they try their hardest to break even, they fall into obscurity because they just can’t keep up with their super-student peers. It must suck to suck, right?

    And what about satire? Do you know what satire is? Here’s the Wikipedia definition of satire:

    “Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.”

    The Daily Show is an example of satire because it uses metaphors for current events to make fun of the events themselves. In a similar vein, the Daily Show does what I am doing to you now–using your own quotes (in context) against you to make a point.

    What kind of point were you trying to make with your article? Please enlighten your unhappy readers.

    Second, there’s a forum for satire. Comedy has a time and a place. A prestigious award-winning, current-event-centered, student-run newspaper is not the place for unsubstantiated satire unless you have built up a following, which you clearly haven’t. Furthermore, you should know better than to trivialize serious issues like substance abuse. It’s like picking on cocaine addicts, who are ostracized for the way they use and abuse illegally obtained substances.

    Substance abuse, like ADD, is no joke. You should do your homework. Talk to your editors, because it was their job to deem your article “publishable”. Without their oversight (or lack of it), you wouldn’t be in this mess. If your article indicates anything, it’s that the editors aren’t working hard enough.

    Questions?

  16. Adderral is the same as Meth and Cocaine, highly addictive! Ask some on adderal to stop. They can’t. Just because you got the drug from your local doctor instead of your local drug dealer does not mean it is safe.

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