Magic pill can enhance focus, drive

To doctors, Adderall is the medication prescribed to individuals diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. But to many college students, it is a miracle.

This “magic pill” is intended for people who need to concentrate without getting distracted, but who are unable to do so because of a chemical imbalance in their brains.

However, college students sometimes ignore the medical criteria to get prescribed, and instead find other ways to obtain the drug. Their excuse: It helps them study more effectively and keeps their mind off time-consuming social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

As college students, we understand the pressures many of us face when it comes to balancing school, work and our social lives. Now more than ever, college students are increasingly competitive while they prepare to enter the workforce. Thus, some students turn to this study drug.

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 truth is, college students will find a way to get the drug even if it isn’t prescribed to them. Whether they buy it from someone who has ADHD, buy it from someone who obtains it illegally or steal it from a friend, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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.

You can blame the system. You can blame college professors. You can even blame society for not making exceptions to the rule that some students must “do it all.” Whichever way you look at it, students have been forced to search for ways to boost their drive, and Adderall is indeed a solution.

Adderall won’t make you smarter or invincible, it just heightens your drive to finish study guides, research papers and projects. Others shouldn’t look down on those who need – and welcome – the extra push.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

November 11, 2012


The Miami Hurricane

14 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Magic pill can enhance focus, drive”

  1. 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.

  2. Madalena Rugeroni says:

    Guys, I dont agree with what you published and I dont think this is good journalism either. It doesnt even look like the Hurricane, but I am an UM student and as your colleague I advice you to re-write this article and the other one in a totally different way or just delete both. Also, you have to read the article huffington post just published about your adderall stories. I really think there should be a response from your part admitting this was not well written, not well explained, and definitely not a moral example to students. It is already damaging UM’s image and credibility and you have to be more careful. I know you’ve heard a lot of bad commentaries already but personally I really like the Hurricane and my advice here is only to help you.

    Here is the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-colagrande/adderall-ritalin-college-students_b_2132949.html

  3. Are You Kidding says:

    This article is irresponsible and makes those of us who have done nothing wrong look bad. I have only met one person who has abused adderall, but that must be because my friends are actually smart and hard working.

    P.S., Adderall might come in handy when trying to focus on the boring content you guys publish.

  4. SJ says:

    This is shameful. As an alum, I’m embarrassed to say I graduated from a school that publishes such trash. I can assure you, I did well on my orgo finals without using Adderall, and I still got into medical school.

  5. Disappointed Cane says:

    I am a firm believer in freedom of press, but such a freedom must be exercised responsibly. The two recent articles on stimulant medication published by the Hurricane are examples of reckless journalism. As a UM alum and a clinical psychology graduate student working with children and adolescents with ADHD, I am quite disappointed that the Hurricane would advocate for the misuse of stimulants. Aside from being illegal with out a prescription, stimulants are powerful drugs with unknown long-term side effects. For many families, the decision to medicate their child in order to treat ADHD, an impairing and disabling mental health condition, is a difficult and stressful one informed by extensive evaluations and past experiences with other forms of therapy. In addition to the irresponsible promotion of a potentially dangerous drug (especially when used haphazardly to pull all-nighters during finals week), I am embarrassed to be associated with the student body represented in these articles. They portray UM students as individuals who do not value academic integrity, a characteristic that is untrue of the majority of the students I knew throughout my time at UM. This article frequently refers to the “pressure” that undergraduates are under and how difficult it is to find time to study. Almost every professor I had at UM was upfront about the material that would appear on exams and I took very few exams that I felt were unfair. Additionally, the university provides two full reading days before exam week begins. Although finals are a stressful time for students, it is in no way impossible for those with out disabling conditions to perform well on exams if they put in the appropriate effort and prepare ahead of time. I urge the staff of the Hurricane to critically consider how the pieces they publish represent the university and I hope to see articles in the next issue that use responsible journalism to make a positive contributions to the university community.

  6. I agree with Cass. I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s good to know someone understands my argument.

  7. Cass F. says:

    Really? I mean, really? This article is offensive, disgraceful, and completely despicable. Yes, Adderall is a drug that is meant to mellow out the mind and help it focus, and as such is prescribed to individuals suffering from neurological disorders such as ADD and ADHD. And yes, it works. It helps individuals (mainly kids and teenagers) keep their mind where they want it and as such does often improve academic performance. And yes, because of this effect it is often abused by people (most specifically college students) to give them the extra edge when listening to lecture or studying. But to write an article like this, essentially painting an illegal action as such in a positive light? It’s reprehensible. Whether or not it is the current social practice or not, it is ILLEGAL, not to mention ethically and morally wrong. And not only does this article paints drug misuse in a positive light, but it also gives advice on how to essentially commit fraud, obtain the drug, and avoid being caught! Whether or not this is a student-run publication, or an article that “represents the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board”, this paper still represents the University of Miami, as such needs to adhere to a higher standard than what was demonstrated in the article above. As a UM alumna, I love my alma mater, but I can actually say that this article makes me ashamed that it is representative of group of student writers that are supposed to exhibit some of the best of this school. The entire staff of the Miami Hurricane should be ashamed.

  8. Allison Goodman says:

    I’d like to invite each of you to express your opinion in a signed letter to the editor, which would be published in Thursday’s issue. If you choose to take this route, please keep it under 400 words and submit it to editor@themiamihurricane.com by noon Wednesday. It may be edited for space and clarity.

  9. lzgreen says:

    For people who have ADD/ADHD, these types of drugs can be very effective, targeting a part of their brain that is not working properly. Otherwise, they are simply stimulants. They give you more energy, but not more focus. They certainly can not make anyone smarter, and can have some serious side effects. Not something to take recreationally, and their use should not be promoted.

  10. Get on my level says:

    So some people need “the extra push” of Adderall to get decent grades?
    Wow. It must suck to suck.

  11. StupidPeopleRelyOnDrugs says:

    I think you should do more research. Adderall makes you think you are right, when you are wrong. It enhances the feeling of assurance even if you are wrong. So if you are already stupid…you will remain stupid, you will just be more confident in your ignorance.

    Losers take it and I’m guessing if you condone it to get ahead, because of laziness or stupidity, then you are probably using it too.

    Good luck with life! While other people are working hard to get ahead you are taking the easy way out, which doesn’t fare well for your future.

    What a disgrace of an opinion ‘article’. I hope journalism is not your actual major.

  12. A Smart Hurricane says:

    Miami Hurricane, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You are bringing shame to the UM name… a felony, unsafe, unethical, illegal, 3 years in jail, $10,000 fine, addictive, reason for expulsion from many universities around the country. If you can’t compete with students that can succeed here without drugs, then you should have gone to a less competitive school. Everyone on campus is now talking about what a disgrace The Hurricane is today. I really hope that people aren’t touring campus and picking up copies of our newspaper this week.

  13. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.