Adderall abuse most common in young adults

Adderall abuse most common in young adults
Miller said that Adderall is also a common drug used on college campuses, but the side-effects are not what people think. (Photo source: WDAM archive)

HATTIESBURG, MS - The National Institute on Drug Abuse calls it one of the most abused prescription drugs in America, while college students call it the "Miracle Pill."

The drug students are referring to is Adderall, and it is prescribed to people with ADHD.

According to a recent study, the pill is getting into the wrong hands.

David is journalism major at the University of Southern Mississippi. When he graduates from college, he plans on becoming a reporter, but first he has to pass his classes.

"I'm like an A-1 procrastinator, so I wait to the last minute to do a lot of stuff," David said.

In order to get everything done in a short amount of time, David uses Adderall.

"It helps me cram, it has helped me remember," David said. "If I cram right before, I'll take one and then go into a test and almost remember everything."

Adderall was developed to treat ADHD in 1996.

It is a stimulant similar to methamphetamine, and releases chemicals in the brain to help people focus.

A recent study from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that 60 percent of the abuse is coming from people 18 to 25 years old.

David said this is not surprising because the drug is popular on campus and easy to get a hold of.

"I've paid five bucks for it, and I paid $15 for it for an extended release," David said.

Dr. Thomas Miller from Pine Grove said using drugs you do not need is bad for you.

"Potentially it's a fatal reaction, you could have such a cardiac event or high blood pressure, or a person may become very paranoid or hallucinate," Miller said.

Miller said while the drug helps people focus, it will not make a person smarter.

"The person will take it and believe they need it moving forward and they can't take a test without Adderall," Miller said. "It becomes a psychological, almost a crutch for them."

Despite the warning, David said he does not regret taking the drug.

"It is worth it if you want good grades, its definitely worth it," David said.

Officials are concerned that students may not know that selling Adderall is a felony, and could lead up to 30 years in prison.

This is a possibility because the drug is classified as a schedule II controlled substance.

"It's the same as selling cocaine, the same as selling meth, it's the same has selling heroin," said Vince Williams with Laurel Narcotics. "You know, selling two Adderalls is the same as selling a gram of heroin."

Williams said having the drug on you is just as bad because a person could get locked up for four years and have a fine of $10,000 just for having one pill.

"It doesn't matter how big or small the drug is, if someone is selling the drug we are going to respond," Williams said. "We are going to do surveillance and we are going to find out who that person is."

Despite these negative consequences, students like David think it is worth the risk and praise the pill for giving them the energy to pull all-nighters in the library, and for helping them get through their finals.

"I'd definitely take it again if I get stressed out about a test and need confidence," David said.

Miller said other instances where the drug is abused includes mixing it with alcohol, or taking it to lose weight in an unhealthy way.

David is a pseudonym used in this story to protect the source's identity.