Adderall and Vyvanese may be known to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but for some high school students across the United States, they are the new academic-enhancing drugs.
In New York, prescription stimulant abuse has found a niche among students in academically elite New York City private schools. DeAnsin Parker, a New York psychologist who treats many adolescents from affluent neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, says “It’s throughout all the private schools here. It’s not as if there is one school where this is the culture. This is the culture.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classified amphetamines like Adderall, Vyvanese, Ritalin, and Focalin as Class 2 controlled substances – along with cocaine and morphine. These medicines which are used to help calm ADHD patients are ranked as among the most addictive substances that have a medical use. Adderall, in particular, has been considered the most abused prescription drug in America. Its potential side effects include increased heart rate, insomnia and appetite suppression.
Despite warnings from medical professionals that the abuse of prescription stimulants can bring about depression, mood swings, heart irregularities, and acute exhaustion, it seems that high school students who are using the pills remain unperturbed.
Gary Boggs, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, adds “We’re seeing it all across the United States.”
Individuals taking the pills without the disorder may experience increased energy and razor-sharp focus — traits that any student would need to pull off the pressures during exams week.
Teenagers interviewed by the New York Times reveal that they are getting the pills from friends; buy from student dealers; or feign symptoms to their parents and doctors in order to procure prescriptions.