The report below is from Nicholas Palomino Mendoza of ASU’s independent student newspaper, The State Press. The abuse of prescription drugs however, is an issue that faces colleges all over the country.

Students who engage in this practice are playing a dangerous game.

Students look to medication for academic edge

On the brink of stressful study sessions and exhaustive final exams, many students looking for a cognitive edge seek prescription pills to get their cramming fix.

Used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Adderall and other psycho-stimulants are commonly abused by non-ADHD college students who face increasingly competitive access to job markets, psychology graduate student Meghan Garvey said.

As a clinical psychology therapist at ASU, Garvey is involved in evaluating potential ADHD students referred from the Student Health Center.

She said Adderall abuse is an ever-growing concern among education administrators and professors because many students stretch the impact of their symptoms to gain access to medication, which they think will help them perform better on tests.

“It’s not something you can give a person a blood test for or hook them up to a heart monitor,” she said.

However, studies of large samples of non-ADHD students who take psycho-stimulants for educational advantages show relatively no improvement in their GPA, Garvey said.

“There isn’t a significant gain, and there is great concern for their health,” she said. “(Non-ADHD) students who get it from a friend or someone who is selling it could be suffering from some other psychological disorder, like depression, that is preventing them from staying awake or staying focused.”