Published on November 26, 2015 | by Selena Kovachis Photography by Mariah Jade Bridgeman0
Students turn to prescription drugs for better focus
With exams quickly approaching at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, stress often gets the best of students, leading them to Adderall for better studying and longer focusing capabilities.
Exam time in university and college brings on a lot of added stress, and without ways to deal with and diminish the stress; students can be drawn to using substances they may not know much about.
Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. Although this is for those with behavioural disorders, it is sometimes illegally purchased by people without a diagnosis to help them be more productive while studying.
“Adderall is designed to keep people focused on things like an assignment or lecture and seems to do the exact same thing for people with ADHD and people without it,” said local resident and dealer Callum. The 20-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD in 2012 after a teacher suggested he get tested, but he has had an easier time focusing without the help of prescriptions as he got older and used to the college environment.
Callum said that no matter what time of the school year, there is always a market for the drug but he is still surprised at the amount of people who ask for it or buy it from him on a regular basis. “It shows me how much this drug actually works for some students, but not everyone who sells it is genuine,” he added.
Callum said it is very hard to find someone who will sell it to you, without going into a pharmacy and having ADHD because doctors are extremely careful about handing out Adderall prescriptions, especially to teenagers. “You shouldn’t trust Adderall that isn’t taken straight from the pharmacy, I make sure I only get and sell Adderall that is prescribed to me so there is no chance of someone tampering with the drugs,” said Callum.
University of Guelph-Humber student, Ryan Devillon, who has taken Adderall for the purpose of being more alert during school hours, said students may think it helps with more than it actually does. “In terms of studying, it doesn’t make you smarter or help you retain more information. All it does is make you focus on what you’re doing and only that, there’s nothing else on your mind, so you’re putting 100 per cent into something you would normally only put 60 per cent of work into,” said Devillon.
Although students see benefits from Adderall, they may not know the real side effects it has on the mind and body.
Sylvia Der-Sahakian is the owner and one of the pharmacist’s at a local Shoppers Drug Mart who carefully administers Adderall to patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD by their doctors. The drug won’t be administered to anyone without weekly meetings with their doctor, and won’t be dispensed if there are any other options.
“The main thing with the medication is it affects your appetite, and it can affect your sleep; it could possibly cause insomnia. It is a stimulant and an amphetamine, so it affects the central nervous system and is a medication that has a long reaction,” said Der-Sahakian
Many pharmacists that were contacted as well as Der-Sahakian said they were not able to comment on people using it without having a prescription.
There are better ways to decrease the amount of stress you feel around exam time that doesn’t involve recreational use of prescription medication. Guelph-Humber offers a workshop to first-year students, relieving some of the fears about exams at the beginning of their university experience.
The learning support peers in Guelph-Humber try to tackle exam stress by administering workshops throughout first semester. These workshops cover a range of topics and are titled differently each month. The titles and focus includes: Reading & Note Taking in September, Time Management and Procrastination in October, and finally Exam Prep in November.