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Using Drugs as Study Aids

Nearly every college student has done it or had a roommate who did – procrastinate about a project or assignment, then stay up all night hours before it’s due with the help of several pots of coffee. While this may seem ineffective it also appears benign, but some students take this trend much farther with the use of illicit substances. Reports from college campuses around the nation – and around the world – indicate that students are using drugs more and more as study aids. This includes serious drugs like cocaine and amphetamines and abuse of prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. The problem with this is that these drugs are not only dangerous; they are also extremely ineffective at helping students get good grades.

Drugs like Adderall and cocaine are stimulants that give a person a heightened sense of awareness, improved focus and increased energy. Students use these drugs to crunch for tests or quizzes, or to focus their attentions in order to complete a task or project. In some cases this is necessary as a result of poor planning or irresponsibility on the part of the student, and in other cases the drugs are deemed necessary when a student is overloaded with classes and sometimes a part- or even full-time job. Whatever the case may be, evidence suggests that using drugs as study aids occurs much more frequently than educators previously thought. In an article for Statepress, Chase Kamp writes about a study into the matter;

“In a study released this month conducted by University of Kentucky professor Alan DeSantis, 34 percent of nearly 2,000 UK students surveyed said they had taken the some kind of ADD medication without a prescription.
The study also found that more than 50 percent of juniors and seniors had taken the drugs to aid in their studies.” (1)

Chances are that these figures are actually much higher, as it’s not likely than many students would willingly admit to illegally taking prescription drugs; a serious, felony offense in the United States. In addition to criminal penalties, students could also face severe academic consequences including expulsion, as many educators and students consider the use of drugs as study aids to be a form of cheating similar to athletes taking performance enhancing steroids. In addition to these consequences, drug use has specific health ramifications for students:

Prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin: Side effects of these drugs can include severe reactions such as seizures, vomiting, migraine, tremors, addiction, hallucinations and delusions. Some colleges have already taken steps to control the use of these drugs as study aids, including Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire:

“The use of unprescribed Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta is considered a violation of the College’s drug policy, not of the Academic Honor Principle, according to Director of Judicial Affairs April Thompson.” (2)

Cocaine: Unpredictable dosing and additives make this drug especially dangerous. Cocaine is known to cause increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems in high doses. Death by overdose or heart failure is possible.

Amphetamines and other stimulants (Energy drinks, caffeine, diet pills, No-Doz, etc): Stimulants can cause a person to feel jittery, have tremors, be unable to sleep, have hallucinations, and in some cases have seizures.

In nearly all cases, students can avoid the use of these drugs with proper planning and a balanced work/study load. But if you find that you’re abusing drugs as a form of study aid, your education, career and even your very life could be in danger. Contact us now to learn what you can do to take action – and how we can help. The call is free, it’s confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

(1) Kamp, Chase Use of illegal drugs to aid study not worth side effects, experts say 04/28/2010 Statepress
http://www.statepress.com/2010/04/28/student-use-of-illegal-drugs-to-study-not-worth-side-effects-experts-say/
Accessed 09/03/2011

(2) Karpis, Paulina Some Students Turn to Medicine as Study Aid 04/23/2010 The Dartmouth
http://thedartmouth.com/2010/04/23/news/cheating
Accessed 09/03/2010

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