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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

College Students Abuse Adderall To Study

As students prepare for final exams, many abuse the prescription drug Adderall.

Adderall is an amphetamine, prescribed to patients with ADHD to improve their focus. Because of this many students use it to improve their performance in classwork and exams.

We interviewed a WSU student who choice to remain anonymous. He said he frequently abuses his Adderall prescription to study, and sells to other students.

“It just makes me more focused, more motivated. It’s hard to reach that when I’m not on it,” he said.

A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that in 2016, 9.9% of college students regularly used Adderall without a prescription.

While many think the pills are harmless, the side effects are alarming. The can include:

-Increased Blood Pressure

-Heart Palpitations


-Heart Attacks



The likelihood of these symptoms increase when users abuse the recommended dosage.

Research published by Dr. Kari Benson in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, found that using Adderall to study was counterproductive, as non users perform better academically than users.

Despite these developments, there’s still a black market for the drug on college campuses. The anonymous student said he says Adderall because it has high demand, and it’s hard to get caught.

“It’s so easy,” he said. “If it’s finals week people just hit me up and ask for it.”

He says he sells 10 to 15 pills out of every 30 pill vile he’s prescribed.

WSU Police has a hard time combating Adderall trade because of the lack of evidence. Assistant Police Chief Chris Hansen said they have to rely on tips or witnessing Adderall sales while investigating other business.

“You’re not gonna sit there and watch somebody doing an Adderall sale,” said Hansen. “There’s no outward evidence, such as the odor of Marijuana smoke. It makes it difficult.”

Because of this, Hansen says the best way to prevent Adderall trafficking is through education.

WSU offers mandatory programs to all incoming freshman such as E-Chug and Booze Sex and Reality Checks.

For those who already suffer from addiction, WSU students founded Cougs 4 Recovery, a program that helps students live productive lives without giving into addiction.

“We tend to dehumanize substance abusers in our society,” said Dr. Noel Adam Vest, one of the co-founders of the organization. “When we can bring in people with shared experiences to help them, it offers so much more vitality to campus.”

WSU advises anyone who suffers from addiction to schedule a confidential assessment with Counseling and Psychological services to get them the help they need.



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Note: Murrow News is produced by students of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Northwest Public Broadcasting proudly supports the work produced by these young journalists. 

If you have any issues/concerns please feel free to reach out to Instructor, Kanale Rhoden or Department Chair, Ben Shors.

©2019 Washington State University Board of Regents – Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. 

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