Focus on Adderall

April 15, 2018

     “They bought it from somebody else and then sold it to me. It’d be like four or five a pop, not bad,” stated Taylor Taylorson*. Adderall is a stimulant prescribed for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is intended to help users stay focused and ignore distractions, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A study by the CDC estimated nearly 3.8 million children are prescribed medication for ADHD. Adderall is one of many pills, others including Vyvanse and Concerta, that fall into the central nervous system stimulant class of medications.  While most use their prescription responsibly, some Waukee High School students obtain the pills with intent to abuse the drugs. Taylorson elaborated on her experience with the pills. “I did feel better in my classes. I did feel like I was able to draw more from the classes, but I also couldn’t sleep the nights I would use it.”

     Camryn Ferguson, school nurse, believes some students abuse Adderall. Ferguson explained, “[Some students use the medication] to get high, to get that rush feeling.” Ferguson attributed the high from Adderall to the similar traits it shares with methamphetamine. She described, “It’s a big burst of caffeine, it has the decreased characteristics of methamphetamine[…] if you don’t take it for the right reasons then people can abuse it for that.” Adderall contains the drugs amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two substances closely related on the molecular level to methamphetamine.

     Students prescribed ADHD medication, such as sophomore Cade Buscher, explained that many people are eager to pay in order to get their hands on his pills. Buscher disclosed, “Finals is when I hear about it like ‘Aye, bro, I need some Adderall.’” Buscher refrains from distributing his prescription and is aware of the medication’s intended uses. He believes that his medicine is crucial for him to pay attention in class and take tests. “There have been several times in the past where if I know I forget to take it, I’ll just tell the teacher I can’t take this test like it’s not going to happen.”

Finals is when I hear about it like ‘Aye, bro, I need some Adderall.’”

     Andy Anderson* claimed, “I do not think teachers know. They probably assume that people take Adderall but probably not to the extent that it is being used.” He continued to describe the current state of the pills at Waukee, “I don’t think it’s a huge problem, but there’s a lot of people doing it.”

     Staff members are semi-aware of teenage prescription drug abuse. Natalie Ross, Waukee High School teacher, said, “I mean of course I always hear about Oxycontin and stuff like that, but I didn’t know Adderall was a part of that.” Ross went on to debunk justification for using the pills unprescribed. “If they are using some type of drug that you have to get from a doctor or a pharmacy, they are probably not using it for the right reasons.” She also argued, “It’s unfair to the students who need it. A normal student [a student not diagnosed with ADHD] absolutely doesn’t need to be using it.”

     Many speculate whether non-diagnosed teenagers are justified in taking Adderall to improve their performance in school. One student vindicated, “I don’t think it’s cheating because you know people study a lot, and it’s not cheating. People actually cheat all the time: they don’t get caught. You still have to be able to remember everything, and how to do everything on a test.”

     Ferguson wants Waukee to know about the potential health risks when taking Adderall without a prescription. “You really need to be diagnosed with something by a physician in order to take it.” To students who still decide to buy and consume Adderall, Ferguson advised, “There could be very drastic consequences. You could start having heart problems right away [with] one pill. One pill could be the day that it all ends, and it’s not worth it. So always, always  make sure you’re taking it like you should be, from a physician, cause you need to be closely monitored.”


*Pseudonyms used in order to keep identity confidential 

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