Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Letter to the editor: Illegal use of pills never justifiable

This letter is in response to Robert Pursell’s article entitled “Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills.” Pills, in this case, refer to the prescription drug Adderall used to treat those with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). I vehemently object to Mr. Pursell’s opinion that abuse of Adderall should be considered appropriate, in any situation. He claims that negative side effects are mild at worst, and that the most negative consequence to the drug is to “clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics.” Mr. Pursell’s reasoning seems to be based solely on observation and past experience without any regard for the opinion of medical professionals.

Type into Google “Adderall side effects” and you will receive a dozen or more credible sources attesting to the extreme negative side effects of abusing Adderall. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Drs. Ronald Ricker and Venus Nicolino, Adderall can cause severe side effects like cardiac or pulmonary arrest, but the worst is the high “addictiveness” of the drug.

Mr. Pursell, by encouraging the abuse of Adderall, you are in the same sentence encouraging addiction and ignoring the proven consequences of its abuse.

Furthermore, it is highly unethical and irresponsible for a person in Mr. Pursell’s position to use school resources – even in an opinion piece – to advocate prescription drug abuse. This is not a brave civil rights stance. It is an attempt to convince readers that his own abuse should not be condemned, but instead supported by the community.

Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in our country, and South Florida ranks highly among the most affected regions. Mr. Pursell, you have “abused” your position and poorly represented The Miami Hurricane, your fellow students and the university at large. While the First Amendment gives us the right to freedom of speech, and with that right you can advocate all the drug abuse you want, to use The Miami Hurricane to do so is a severe violation.

I encourage Mr. Pursell and all readers to become educated about all substance use before deciding to abuse, or even use, controlled and/or regulated substances. I thank The Miami Hurricane for allowing me to voice my opinion.


Eric Weiss graduated in the UM Class of 2012, and is a Miller School of Medicine M.D. candidate.

November 14, 2012


Eric Weiss

12 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Letter to the editor: Illegal use of pills never justifiable”

  1. Nobody should leave the University of Miami. 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.

  2. President Obama says:

    Robert Pursell should leave the University of Miami

    Andrew Blitman is an American Hero

  3. President Obama says:

    ANDREW BLITMAN should leave the University of Miami.

  4. No3rdGradeEdu says:

    Sorry everyone, apparently I do not have a 3rd grade education and am insensitive to drug abusers. Someone please teach me what satire is, because my English minor obviously did not. And please, if you use prescription meds that aren’t yours (so illegal drugs), then don’t worry about it, we will all support your abuse. I understand what I did wrong, and will go back to Mrs. O’Malley’s class and try to get out of Elementary school this time around. Boy, did I fool the Deans at the medical school though!

  5. StupidPeopleRelyOnDrugs says:

    Hear, hear! There are those who are weak enough to think that article was sound advice. Taking the easy way out never leads to long term success.

  6. Until you and the Hurricane staff understand that words are more than words and take accountability for yourselves, you can’t call yourself a journalist. When will you realize that they have intents, contexts, and implications that need to be considered when making opinions publicly? Furthermore, when will you understand that when you write as a journalist, your opinions do (regardless of the disclaimer/excuse) reflect the newspaper and the things/beliefs/people you represent?

    This is as much about The Hurricane’s breach of civil responsibility and educational duty as it is about the Adderall problem itself. Until you realize that and address my arguments directly, your newspaper’s publicity problem is going to get worse and worse. Avoiding responsibility has never helped anyone, and as a legal adult you should know that cheating and shallow justifications for it are wrong. People who do unethical things should be held accountable for their actions. If you want to be treated like a serious journalist someday, you need to hold yourself to the highest standard and accumulate a following with credibility.

    Trust me,

    I’m not a journalist.

  7. thankyoujordan says:

    Anyone who decides to break the law and take illegal drugs and is in college has gone through grade and high school. While there, they have most likely gotten massive amounts of information about why they should not do drugs, and what side effects they may have, that it is illegal, etc, etc. All new UM students have to complete AlcoholEdu which again gives you tons of information on why you shouldn’t drink underage or do drugs. Clearly, those who choose to use adderol have gotten the gist of information provided in intricate research articles, links to which are shared in comments on related articles, that basically say “drugs are bad” in a thousand words or so. Yet, even with all this information and those wonderfully profound studies which revealed the shocking and unheard of finding that a number of college students DO DRUGS and that drugs cause detrimental effects to the user, those students still choose to do said drugs. In fact, they’re probably getting a kick out of some of the comments and articles on here while they’re poping their adderol or other drug of choice. I bet you didn’t convince one person who is using adderol illegally to stop by calling them immoral, stupid, unethical, etc. But please, I beg of you, repeat yourself yet again after reading this. (or maybe go find someone who actually has a problem- yes drug abuse is a serious psychological and emotional problem probably not best solved by ranting on an article online- assuming you actually even know someone with a drug problem, and let them know that you care about them….it really won’t help them to tell them repeatedly that they are immoral, unethical human beings, that’ll probably just drive them to continue using drugs)

  8. jordan Cunningham says:

    did you actually even read the article? not only is the entire article phrased in a satirical context, but he never once mentions abusing the drug, never specifying consumption proportions, as this is, after all, a satirical piece. I honestly cannot believe the outrageous response that this article has received. As a presumably “intelligent” human being, one should have the ability to understand that if you want honest facts and medical advice about amphetamines, such as adderall, concerta, etc., read a book about it or consult your physician. When has anyone, who has ever desired crucial knowledge and-or direction, turned to articles in a college newspaper OP-ED piece? Has this article really warranted such a back-lash from concerned parents or other college students who have nothing meaningful going on in their own lives that they have to write a response on the Huffington post to the article? no. Honestly, it looks pathetic. People need to grow up, recognize that if they are searching for medical advice, to not consult an op-ed piece in a college newspaper, and take responsibility for themselves, as opposed to giving more publicity to an article which they “vehemently oppose.”

  9. Eric W says:

    Thank you, thank you Eric

  10. thankyoueric says:

    Finally, someone intelligent.

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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.