Winter term stress drives drug use

As the temperature drops, the snow finally falls and the epitome of what winter term in Erie is supposed to be like, students on campus are starting to stress about the seven week stretch of classes that we have until our next break.

As a self-proclaimed coffee snob, I find myself drinking an obnoxious amount of caffeine on a daily basis to get through this stretch of the term. However, although I find it an extremely effective solution, is not always what the rest of students on campus turn to for that extra boost.

No, what is becoming more and more popular is the abuse of Adderall. Instead of switching between your Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon and half-composed word document, perhaps the coffee that you drank at 10 p.m. would not be fading at 2 a.m. and your paper would be close to being done. However, college students turn to alternate forms of focus salvation.

Adderall is quickly becoming a drug of choice as students are using school to justify their abuse, claiming that Adderall helps them deal with distractions and focus on their work, allowing them to earn the grades that they desire. Estimates show that somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of college students are regularly abusing Adderall.

We live in a world where the solution to most problems comes in capsule form. Add in the pressures of college life, and a quick fix is more precious than ever. You pop a couple Advil to make it through your morning lecture after a night out, or swallow a few Dayquil gels with your coffee to fight the colds that inevitably hit during midterms and finals weeks.

Adderall, some believe, is the magic cure to one collegiate disorder that’s arguably more prevalent than hangovers or the common cold: procrastination.

All of us — every single student, adviser, professor and everyone in between — has procrastinated at one point in life. Procrastination gets the best of everyone, but is Adderall the route to go to defeat it? Think about the career paths that you are trying to go down; think about the potential polygraph tests you’ll have to take that inquire about your drug and alcohol habits. What about your future?

Furthermore, what about the academic honesty involved? At Duke University, students received an email with the line “The unauthorized use of prescription medication to enhance academic performance has been added to the definition of cheating.”

Mercyhurst College is adamant about its policies concerning academic integrity and honesty, so what would happen if a similar policy was put into effect on our campus? How many students do you think that would affect?

I’m not saying that if you have a legitimate prescription that you have an advantage over anyone academically, I’m simply using this as a shout-out to the illegal buyers and sellers of Adderall.

Yes, college is a lot of work. Do people stress out and fail? Absolutely. However, that’s the point of the game. Call it Darwinism if you wish. Either way, I know that this is a growing issue on our campus, as well as campuses all over the nation, and it’s just something to think about.