A recent study published by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found that 1 in 5 college students admits to having abused prescription stimulant drugs intended for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as reported by News8000.com out of La Cross, Wisconsin. The study, which was released in the middle of November, provides a nationally representative cross section of the population of Americans aged 18 to 25. It included an examination of the trends of prescription stimulant abuse among college students, as well as the broader group of people in that age group. It found that for the most part, ADHD drug abuse is not actually drug abuse as we normally think of it, to get high for recreational purposes. Certainly there are some young people who do use Adderall and Ritalin recreationally, but the most commonly cited reason for abusing these medications was for the purpose of coping with the busy and stressful schedule that many young adults struggle with on a daily basis.
Most of today’s young adults have one thing in common: a packed schedule. College students, for example, are typically laboring under the pressure of a heavy credit load, trying to cram in as much course work as possible to graduate on time. With the current economic climate, many students also have to work part-time or full-time during school to make ends meet and help pay for tuition to avoid racking up excessive student loans. On top of all this there is the pressure to keep up with a busy social life for fear of being left out, and all of it adds up to a high likelihood of getting exhausted and burned out. In this context, it is easy to see that college students and other young adults might be looking for an edge, a way to push through the fatigue, maintain focus and stay ahead of the game. Drugs, however, are not the answer. They may give a boost in the short term, but they only lead to dependence and breakdown in the long run. A young adult who starts taking Adderall or Ritalin is likely to become dependent, getting used to having the effects of the drug to make it possible to study or work longer or more effectively.
Why do so many young people abuse ADHD drugs?
This situation serves as an example of how problems coping with life’s problems often lead to drug addiction. In most cases, an addict can trace his or her condition back to a situation where he or she was not able to handle stressful or challenging situations in life. For this reason, an effective drug rehab program must address this deficiency by boosting up the person’s skills, ability and confidence to handle life. The Narconon program does this with a series of life skills courses addressing different subjects including personal values and integrity, interpersonal relations, how to choose the right people as friends, morals and ethics, communication skills and the ability to improve conditions in life. The study also underscores the vital necessity of providing education and skills to young people to better manage their lives and juggle all of the obligations and expectations they face. More importantly, it highlights the danger of putting addictive and potentially dangerous drugs in the hands of young people. Adderall and Ritalin are among the most commonly prescribed drugs among children and adolescents, and millions of children have been given stimulants over the course of recent years.
Even those who did not have a prescription were exposed to the idea that drugs were the solution to problems with focusing in school, so it is natural for them to assume that they could benefit from taking pills to improve their own academic performance. As described by the study, prescription stimulant abuse has been normalized among young adults. It is time to change this public perception through better efforts at educating young people about the dangers of drugs, as well as by reducing the rate at which we put our children on dangerous drugs to handle behavior problems.