Nonmedical Use of Prescriptions
Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvannse, or Adderall are sometimes used by students who think it will help them do better on a test or study more effectively. Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants is more common among college students than high school students.
Studies have found that 4.1% to 10.8% of college students reported using prescription stimulants nonmedically.
Selling or sharing prescription medication prescribed to you is illegal. Taking prescription stimulants requires the supervision of a physician and can result in serious harm if taken recreationally. Never share or sell your prescription medication.
Prescription drugs generally fall into three different classifications: Uppers, Downers and All-Arounders.
Students usually obtain these drugs from a friend who has a prescription. These friends often give away their pills for free.
DID YOU KNOW? Sharing your prescription pills with friends is drug trafficking.
Myths vs. Reality
There are a lot of misconceptions amongst college students about non-medical use of prescriptions.
Everyone is doing it
|Use is not the norm. In 2013, less than one in ten adolescents used prescription stimulants nonmedically|
|These drugs are safe||
Taking prescription stimulants without a physician’s supervision has the possibility of unknown interactions with other drugs, risk for dependence, and adverse health consequences.
Specifically, taking high doses of prescription stimulants may result in dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, seizures, or heart attack.
Nonmedical use also carries risk for the person diverting the medication; trading, sharing, or selling medication might mean the diverter is skipping doses and not treating their disorder appropriately. The diversion of prescription stimulants also carries legal risks for the diverter.
|These drugs are safer than illicit drugs||In one study, more college students perceived a “great risk” from occasional nonmedical prescription stimulant use than from occasional marijuana use|
|Most students who use prescription stimulants nonmedically do well academically .||
Nonmedical use is concentrated among students who have lower GPAs.
There is evidence to suggest that prescription stimulants are used as an attempt to meet academic demands in the context of an active social lifestyle, which often includes drinking, illicit drug use, and little time for studying.
|By using prescription stimulants nonmedically, students can improve their cognitive performance and gain a competitive edge||Experimental research has shown mixed findings on the performance effect of prescription stimulants among study volunteers with no attention difficulties. There is much uncertainty about their effectiveness due to dosage issues, individual differences, expectancy of the effect, and type of task. Thus, it is unlikely that these drugs can improve academic performance in the long run.|