With so much pressure to do well in school and get good grades, some students from middle school to college are now turning to a pill to help them cram for a big test and focus during the exam.
They call it the “good grade pill,” but at times the outcomes are anything but good.
It’s not a street drug. It’s a prescription medication called Adderall, and doctors use it to treat symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder, or ADHD.
“I took it to study, and to take the test,” said Kate Beach of Colorado Springs. “Everybody knows somebody who has a prescription,” she said.
As a college student , Kate says Adderall was readily available everywhere she went. Some people use it to party, but others use it hoping to perform better at school.
For patients with ADHD Adderall is supposed to create a calming effect, but for people who do not have ADHD the opposite happens.
Adderall is an amphetamine and students use it to pull all-nighters.
“It’s become kind of an epidemic,” Beach said.
And there can be consequences. Selling it is a crime. Plus Adderall is a controlled substance, just like cocaine, and it is addictive.
Kate Beach ended up in rehab at the Center for Dependency Addiction and Rehabilitation, or CeDAR, in Aurora.
“I felt crazy,” she said. Kate had been diagnosed with ADHD when she was 18, and had a prescription for Adderall, but she began to abuse the drug, taking many times the recommended dosage.
Her parents busted her when she was going doctor to doctor, pharmacy to pharmacy, getting large amounts of pills.
She is glad she went to rehab. She is now sober, and interning at CeDAR. She graduated from college and is looking for a job.
Unfortunately many other students end up in the same situation as Kate.
Staff at CeDAR say the abuse of Adderall has spread to high school and even middle school students. Executive Director Steve Millette says Adderall can be used very successfully to treat ADHD patients, but he warns kids should not take another person’s prescription. “If it’s not for you, it’s not safe for you,” Millette said.
Plus patients should only take their recommended dosage. Doctors warn that parents should keep a close eye on their kids’ prescription medications, and make sure they aren’t sharing with anyone else.
If you are concerned that you are addicted to Adderall or any other substance, call an expert you know, or call CeDAR at 866-464-0052.