During her freshman year at Westmont College, in Santa Barbara, Calif., Emily Auman found herself writing a 30-page paper and three five-page essays, while she prepared for a dance show and an art show, all in the same week. To get her work done, Auman needed to pull three all-nighters in a row.
Fearing she would never make it on her own, Auman popped three little blue pills-one a night-and rode an energy high for 72 hours.
"It was great," said Auman, a history major. "I could actually focus, and I could just sit down and type and type and type. I thought it was fantastic. To keep up, it seemed like the only thing that would really help."
Adderall, Auman's study helper, is a psychostimulant designed to treat symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But on high school and college campuses, the drug has become known as the "study pill" or the "smart pill," for its ability to keep even the most exhausted and easily distracted student up all night studying or writing papers. Although researchers claim the drug doesn't really provide the increased mental performance students think it does, use on college campuses continues to rise.
As Adderall abuse becomes more common, fewer students see it as something illegal, immoral, or dishonest. But students who don't use the drug say taking Adderall without a prescription amounts to cheating and has the potential to make succeeding in college impossible without it.
Thirty percent of all college students have used Adderall or similar drugs, like Ritalin, to help them focus and study, according to Alan DeSantis, a professor at the University of Kentucky who tracks the use of study drugs on college campuses. DeSantis's research also showed that Adderall use increased with upperclassmen, who usually carry heavier workloads. According to the study, 50 percent of juniors and seniors admitted to using the drug, and illegal Adderall use was highest among fraternity and sorority members-80 percent admitted taking it at least once.
Because Adderall is one of the most common drugs used to treat ADHD, it is easy for college students to get. ... COMPLETE STORY >>
This story is part of a WORLD on Campus series on Adderall abuse.