A study published in the June 2014 issue of Addictive Behaviors examined how prescription drug…
How Adderall Improved Amphetamine’s Image
Adderall, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is an amphetamine marketed as a way to help individuals with ADHD improve their focus. However, the drug has become a popular choice for misuse due to its ability to help students forego sleep and food in order to focus on studies. An article by James L. Kent argues that the Adderall brand is designed as a veil for the marketing of speed to kids and their parents.
Kent profiles a college student he calls Sheri who has the requisite diagnosis to acquire a prescription for Adderall, but who lacks the money and insurance to purchase the drug from a pharmacy. Instead, Sheri obtains her drugs from a dealer. The dealer, in turn, purchases the drugs from a network of kids that do have adequate insurance to purchase Adderall from a pharmacy. Both the kids and the dealer make a profit selling the pills to students like Sheri who need the drug to balance work and school.
The amphetamine salts contained in Adderall allow for the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which work to elicit feelings of impulsivity, alertness and invincibility. Variations of amphetamines have been used for various reasons, including narcolepsy and even as a stimulant for soldiers in World War II, according to Kent.
Kent argues that the packaging of Adderall by Shire Pharmaceuticals has provided a veneer of respectability to old-fashioned speed. Kent says that by calling Adderall a “patented blend” of amphetamine salts, the drug has earned credibility among parents because it helps their children cope better in school.
Kent notes that what begins as a boost for a tough week at school can escalate as the student finds more and more reasons to supplement their study efforts. The author also says that while students diagnosed with ADHD experience an improvement in academic success with medication, the evidence is mixed when it comes to students without ADHD that use the medication for an academic boost.
The use of Adderall as a study tool can quickly spiral into addiction. Parents can help teens use traditional means of stress relief like adequate sleep, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. In addition, parents can check in with their kids’ stress levels and encourage them to make healthy choices to balance their schedules.