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The underground world of Adderall at University of Florida

Armen Hareyan's picture
Adderall Capsules

College students at the University of Florida misuse Adderall as a study drug without realizing the dangers it poses to their health. Adderall is a prescription drug that settles and calms students with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, ADHD, by subduing their energetic personalities. The drug allows them to relax, and it controls their impulsive behavior.

For students without ADHD, however, Adderall has the adverse effect. It offers them increased energy and the ability not to fall asleep at night, two results that are essential to cramming for looming exams.

For many college students at University of Florida, Adderall is a miracle pill. Students can get all of their studying done at a much faster pace. They can study hour after hour without feeling fatigued, and they generally retain all the information, Jeannie Latimer, a licensed mental health counselor at UF, said.

Many students take the pill without realizing that it poses major health dangers. Risks include increased heartbeat and blood pressure, anxiety, weight loss, chronic headaches and mood swings, according to Latimer. Students at UF are attracted to it because it helps them study and sharpens their focus. It is also easy to get.

Adderall can be found all over campus

“A few years ago, one psychiatrist working at UF came across a Facebook group where students were posting names of sellers at UF,” Latimer said.

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The drug is prevalent, but it is not always cheap. “I have been taking the pill since high school, and now that I’m in college people offer me crazy amounts of money for one. I would never sell it, but I’m always shocked by how much people offer me,” Neri Olea, a student at UF, said. The pill usually costs anywhere from $5 to $20. “Students will pay a lot of money to get that A,” Olea said.

In the last five years, college campuses have been a hot spot for Adderall abuse. Therefore, college students have also experienced most of the negative side effects associated with the drug.

“Students at UF have ended up in the ER at Shands after taking Adderall,” Latimer said. It causes a sudden increase in heartbeat that can lead to seizures, heart attacks and strokes, according to Latimer.

A huge part of the problem is that students don’t know their bodies. When the doctor is taken out of the equation, people can never be sure what dose they are getting or if it will send their bodies into shock. “They take the pill without any precautions, and they don’t realize what can happen,” Latimer said.

Students may also be allergic to a number of ingredients in the drug. Their bodies may not be able to handle the effects such as increased heartbeat and blood pressure, migraines, mood swings, paranoia and even severe depression.

“People need to be more careful. Adderall can be dangerous. Is a boost in GPA really worth risking your health?” Olea said. Students are encouraged to seek more information about Adderall abuse at the University of Florida by visiting the university's Counseling and Wellness Center web site.

By Anne Cappello - a UF student
Image source of Adderall capsules: Wikipedia