Performance enhancing drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have become the staples of many college campuses around the country. Due to the need for young people in schools to accomplish more than the average human is capable of on a day-to-day basis, these drugs are used and often abused in order to “get the job done”. Whether one approves of this trend or not, it is proven that these drugs have helped many accomplish their goals and finish school at a higher GPA than they could have achieved naturally on their own, thus producing more successful people in general.
Margaret Talbot, the author of this article, explores the college lifestyle of a young man she calls Alex, since he does not want his actual name to be used in this article. Alex discusses his list of over-achieving, and seemingly impossible, activities that compose his weekly schedule. These activities include dozens of college level papers, working at least forty hours per-week, and staying involved in many student led organizations on his campus (which is Harvard by the way). My first semester in college has included less than half of these activities and a level of stress that I didn’t think was possible. In comparison to Alex’s schedule, drugs seem to be the only possible way to complete all of these activities with success. Alex explained how the writings he completes while on Adderall produce a different paper than his regular mind does. He said that the drug causes him to do extensive research and he often includes too much information that can cloud his argument, but at the end of he day the worst he gets on his Adderall influenced papers is the grade of a B. Most are quick to judge this lifestyle since it often includes the use of other drugs like marijuana or even cocaine on a weekly basis, but Alex’s situation make you think: is the use of non-prescribed drugs really something to look down on?
This picture epitomizes the norm of Adderall in today’s society.
Personally I do not think it should be the norm to use drugs that your body does not need, and while they may seem great at one point in time, the effects of the abuse will show in your body either sooner or later. Dependence and cardiac problems are two of the main reasons why someone would not want to make it a habit of using these drugs. Many people who use Adderall cannot seem to function properly without it, therefore causing them to use the drug for activities they could certainly do on their own without drugs. In the same breath, what is to look down upon about a student who wants to be the best? The work force after college is so competitive that in some cases good enough just is not good enough, which leads over-achieving students looking for a way to become the best or often to just survive the heavy workloads at tough colleges. Having a very wise nurse for a mother, I would advise against the use of these drugs in people who care about their long-term health, but also I would not judge others for choosing to use these drugs to carry out advanced, demanding lifestyles.