UM officials seek to inform students of the dangerous effects of Adderall

Adderall, an increasingly popular study drug, has recently become a growing and dangerous concern within the UM community, according to administration.
“We’re concerned about all the drugs that may be present on campus,” said Dr. Pat Whitely, vice-president for student affairs. “Every time a drug appears on our radar screen we try to educate our students about the side effects.”
“Adderall is speed,” said Malcolm Kahn, Ph.D, ABPP, director and associate professor at the Counseling Center. “This is a very highly regulated class of drugs with very real and serious medical consequences.”
In a recent Life and Art article printed in the Nov. 8 edition of The Miami Hurricane, two students gave their testimonials regarding why they use Adderall to study. Both accounts emphasized how the drug has helped them improve academically but made no mention of the negative medical consequences of using the drug without a prescription.
“Adderall is a drug used to treat neurological disorders and has different effects on the brain function of individuals who have been diagnosed to benefit from the drug,” Dr. Kahn said. “In recent years, these types of drugs have become a sort of fad because of the media and many times people think they may be displaying symptoms of a disorder that they probably do not have.”
Sexual impotence, nervous tremors, unwanted twitching, mental disturbances, high blood pressure, irritability and depression are all common side effects of the drug.
“Many young men experience strong negative psychological effects from not being able to perform sexually,” Dr. Kahn said. “The psychological and emotional effects of the drug will continue long after the drug wears off.”
Last year, UM conducted a campus-wide, anonymous survey of 3000 randomly selected students. Of the 962 who responded, only 17 reported taking a psychiatric drug without a prescription.
“This study indicates that most students are responsibly dealing with their work in a healthy, substance-free way,” Jennifer Brack, assistant dean of students and advisor to PIER 21, said. “The high number of students who utilize the Counseling Center also demonstrates that students are interested in learning how to effectively and naturally cope with their lives.”
PIER 21 is a comprehensive, innovative, multidimensional education, prevention, and intervention program that focuses on alcohol and other drug use, misuse, and abuse.
According to administration, PIER 21, the Academic Center and the Counseling Center can help students find ways to enhance their academic performance by way of advising, programs and workshops that focus on time management and prioritizing techniques, developing strong study habits and utilizing effective time management strategies.
“It is unfortunate that our society is placing such emphasis on the ‘quick fix’,” Brack said. “It’s scary to think about a community of people who need to rely on pills to get through daily responsibilities. We hope that instead of asking around for extra Adderall that students will first make a strong attempt to develop coping skills for themselves.”
Carmen Lex, in her testimonial printed in the Nov. 8 issue, emphasized the fact that she was aware of the potential long-term effects of the drug:
“I may be blemishing my body like with any other drug and I’m thinking, whilst marveling at about a hundred other ideas, will I become addicted to this pill?”
“Students need to be aware that this drug is dangerous and should not be used by individuals to which it is not prescribed,” Dr. Kahn said. “Even though they may feel that it is helping them momentarily, the long term effects can be extremely detrimental.”
Dr. Kahn says that the Counseling Center will not be prescribing Adderall to students after this semester.
Students who are experiencing negative effects of amphetamines like Adderall or other drugs should visit the Student Health Center. To get diagnosed for a specific disorder, contact the Counseling Center at X8-5511.
PIER 21 can be reached at 305-284-6120.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at