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THE DAILY WILDCAT Printing the news, sounding the alarm, and raising hell since 1899 DAILYWILDCAT.COM TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014 VOLUME 107 • ISSUE 118 STUDY BUDDIES After alcohol and marijuana, Adderall has the highest abuse rate of any substance among UA students; most use it to help with academics BY ETHAN MCSWEENEY The Daily Wildcat J 6.6% 13.0% 61.8% 31.0% ack*, a UA physics sophomore, knocked on a door, which was opened to reveal a cramped and dimly lit dorm room. Michael*, a fine arts freshman, led him through his room, movie posters filling the walls and bottles of alcohol scattered throughout. Michael opened a desk drawer and produced a prescription bottle filled with orange capsules. “I just need two,” Jack said. He had a midterm coming up and said he needed something extra to help him study. Michael then placed two capsules into a Ziploc bag and handed it to Jack. On the capsules, in black script, was written: ADDERALL XR 20 mg. Michael has a prescription for Adderall to treat his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and he sells extra pills on the side at $5 each. Michael has cycled through some 20 different ADHD medications by doctors since he was diagnosed with the disorder at the age of 7. About a year and a half ago, his doctor prescribed him Adderall for the first time. Adderall is an amphetamine commonly prescribed to ADHD patients to help improve their concentration. Some students use Adderall without a prescription as a way to boost their academic performance, especially when they feel they’re falling behind, said Lynn Reyes, an alcohol and other drug prevention specialist with Campus Health Service. “They’re in trouble; finals are coming up,” Reyes said. “So they think, ‘I’ve got to pull an all-nighter. I’m going to try some Adderall.’” Adderall use is not an uncommon part of the college experience, with 31 percent of four-year students reporting having taken the drug without a prescription at some point, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of American College Health. In the annual Health and Wellness Survey conducted by Campus Health in 2013, 6.6 percent of UA students admitted to using Adderall or similar ADHD medications without a prescription in the past 30 days, and 13 percent said that they had used it the past year. The only substances with higher abuse rates among UA students are alcohol and marijuana, Reyes said. Unlike alcohol and marijuana, recreational use of Adderall is not nearly as common. The study in JACH showed that about 75 percent or more of college students who use Adderall use it to help them academically. Adderall is a stimulant, not unlike coffee, said Keith Boesen, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. “We use caffeine to wake ourselves up and help us concentrate,” Boesen said. “Adderall takes that to the next level.” Prescribing a stimulant to those with ADHD may seem like a puzzling choice, but the stimulation from Adderall actually has a calming effect on people with ADHD. “ of UA students used Adderall in the past 30 days without a prescription* of UA students used Adderall in the past year without a prescription* of college students are offered Adderall at some point** it?’” Michael said. He receives a package from home once a month containing his prescription, which consists of 30 pills, one for each day of the month. The pills he doesn’t take, he sells — to friends, acquaintances and even strangers. “For me, it’s not like I need it every day to function. Some people need it to function,” he said. He doesn’t take his daily pill on the weekends when he drinks because the two don’t mix well, and on some days he wakes up and doesn’t feel he needs to take it. Slowly, a surplus accumulates, and he has enough to begin selling. After he started selling to his friends, they began referring others to him. He estimates that during finals week last semester he made about $250 from selling his Adderall. Michael said that he knows what he is doing is illegal. Adderall is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Schedule II controlled substance, which *From UA Campus Health Service’s 2013 Health and Wellness Survey indicates it carries a high risk for abuse, and places it in the **From 2012 study in the Journal of American College Health same category as cocaine and methamphetamine. “It helps people working with those parts of the brain The UA Student Code of Conduct to focus and be able to pay attention, particularly in prohibits the unauthorized use, sale, possession or school, where we find a lot of the early diagnoses [of distribution of any controlled substance. ADHD],” Reyes said. Under Arizona state law, Adderall as an amphetamine This makes the drug appealing to college students is considered a dangerous drug, and possessing a looking for something to help them concentrate or dangerous drug is a Class 4 felony. The sale or transfer of stay awake. a dangerous drug is a Class 2 felony. Obtaining Adderall through Campus Health is not That section of the Code of Conduct covers many easy, Reyes said. While Campus Health will continue different drug offenses, said Kendal Washington White, to prescribe ADHD medications to students who have dean of students and assistant vice president for Student a prescription from a family doctor, it will never begin Affairs. prescriptions for students who simply walk in and say The Dean of Students Office does not track each they have ADHD. drug case it handles with the specificity necessary to “Campus Health does not start people on ADHD meds determine how many cases have involved Adderall, because we don’t have the staff to assess that particular according to White, but about 95 percent or more of disorder,” Reyes said. “So, what we do when someone those cases involve marijuana usage. feels that they need that, we give them referrals ... so that Most drug cases handled by the University of Arizona Police Department also involve marijuana usage, according to Brian Seastone, UAPD chief of police. Michael said that he takes steps to avoid getting caught. He doesn’t give out his name to strangers who are referred to him, and he trusts his friends to not give away his name. Amanda*, a film and television — Amanda*, freshman, is one of those friends. film and television freshman Amanda first tried Adderall last semester when finals week came around, taking three pills during the week to aid her studying. Now, she takes it every time she has to study for they get assessments.” a major test or when she has a paper due. Some students turn to friends, or friends of friends, to “I have a really, really hard time focusing on my work, get them Adderall instead. just in general,” she said, “so when I need to actually Michael’s doctor warned him before he went off to the focus, I take it.” UA to keep his Adderall safe, saying others would come Amanda said that she feels the Adderall does help her asking for it. perform better academically. A few months ago, in his first semester at the UA, “I definitely would not have been as prepared Michael’s friends learned of his Adderall prescription, for my exams [without Adderall],” she said. “I can and asked if he would consider selling it. He went online guarantee that.” and researched the price of Adderall and discovered that he could make some extra money off of his prescription. ADDERALL, 3 “I thought, ‘I have surplus, so why don’t I profit from of college students try Adderall at some point** I definitely would not have been as prepared for my exams [without Adderall]. I can guarantee that. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA SASNETT/THE DAILY WILDCAT “


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