'Finding True America': Smart drug in U.S. colleges
Adderall, a prescription drug commonly used for treating conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is often used by college students in the U.S. to increase focus and productivity despite the potential risks.
Referred to as a "study drug" or "smart drug," it is seen as a way to boost academic performance, especially during examinations. Its side effects include irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, headache, dizziness, insomnia and loss of appetite.
According to a survey conducted by Ohio State University in 2022 of 6,510 undergraduate, graduate and professional students from 15 institutions across the U.S., nearly one in six college students had used stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin or Dexedrine for non-medical use, and 76 percent of them had used the drugs to study.
Steve is a director and artist from Detroit, U.S. who graduated from college in 2020. Under the academic and economic pressure, Steve started to use Adderall in the sophomore year to "maintain the energy" to study and do part-time work at the same time. Soon the side effects started to harry him, such as no appetite, being lethargic and fatigued, and he could only sleep three to four hours a day.
Steve recalled that around 80 percent of his peers used Adderall to improve academic performance. The main reason for this drug abuse on the U.S. campuses is that some people with prescriptions sell Adderall to students underground instead of using it for themselves, leading to easy access to Adderall, which should be controlled strictly. Steve said that college is so expensive for most people that some of them use drugs to be able to make the best of this experience, even at the detriment of their physical and mental well-being.