According to the New York Times, pressure over grades and college admission has escalated to the point that many students are using prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin to help them study.
Around 40 students, school officials and parents agreed to be interviewed for an article about the abuse of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications to help them concentrate and fare better on tests and gain entrance to top colleges.
The medicine – which has been described as ” a staple in some college and graduate school circles” – is now apparently “routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.”
But the stimulants can be addictive and can have harmful side effects ranging from depression, mood swings, heart irregularities and acute exhaustion to psychosis during withdrawal.
A Manhattan therapist warned: “Children have prefrontal cortexes that are not fully developed, and we’re changing the chemistry of the brain . . . It’s one thing if you have a real deficiency – the medicine is really important to those people – but not if your deficiency is not getting into Brown.”
Do you know any teenagers who have taken prescription drugs to concentrate?