By Ross Lelieur
Senior Staff Writer
The pressures of schoolwork may be pushing some students to turn to drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to stay on task for long periods of time. These drugs, normally prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can be used non-medically to help individuals focus for significant periods of time, often longer than what would normally be possible. These effects have clear applications for schoolwork, especially for those who are feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks they are required to complete.
To determine the extent to which SPHS students are using Adderall and other “study drugs,” Tiger conducted an anonymous survey of 187 juniors and seniors, asking whether they knew any non-medical users, whether they had ever used ADHD drugs for tests, and whether they believe the use of these drugs for studying is cheating.
The survey found that 10 percent of juniors and 14 percent of seniors have used Adderall and related drugs to study for tests, based on its randomly selected representative sample.
Nationwide, the Medicine Abuse Project reports that 9.1 percent of seniors use Adderall and Ritalin non medically, which could be a strong indication that SPHS has above normal rates of nonmedical usage. This is corroborated by Tiger’s finding that only 36 percent of juniors, and 31 percent of seniors think that using Adderall and other ADHD medications is cheating, which removes one barrier to Adderall usage.
Tiger also found that the average GPAs did not differ significantly between seniors who use ADHD medication to study and those who do not, at 3.4 and 3.36 respectively. However, the difference was much more pronounced for juniors, with Adderall users averaging 3.05 compared to the non-users’ average of 3.42.
SPHS’s above-average usage of ADHD medications for studying, although it may not be worrying to the student body, could be a potential issue for that body’s health, as the health effects of unprescribed ADHD medication usage are still unclear.