COLUMBUS, Ohio — Earlier this week, Columbus Public Health issued a safety alert warning of fake Adderall pills containing fentanyl in The Ohio State University campus area.
The warning was issued after three students were hospitalized from a reported overdose from an unknown drug on Wednesday. Two of those students have since died, according to the university.
The concept of Adderall abuse is not new to college campuses and universities across the nation. In fact, studies show it is one of the most commonly used and abused drugs in academic settings.
So, what really is Adderall and why is it addictive?
According to the National Library of Medicine, Adderall is a stimulant drug that is prescribed to treat patients who experience attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that makes it difficult to concentrate. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy, a disorder that causes excessive tiredness and sudden sleep attacks.
Because of its chemical makeup, Adderall can be habit-forming, prompting the person taking it to feel the need to consume a larger dosage. This can lead to potential risk for overdose.
Where does the connection between Adderall and students come in?
According to the American Addiction Center, Adderall’s reported ability to help students stay focused and alert has made it one of the most popular drugs used today on college campuses. So much so, many refer to it as the “Study Drug.”
Additionally, Adderall has been known to improve social anxiety, making people more awake and talkative. These so-called benefits have made the drug more common among younger crowds, specifically between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.
A 2019 ‘Monitoring the Future’ survey shows roughly 8.4% of college students used non-prescription Adderall, compared to the 5.8% of young adults reported to have used it who were not in college.
“The higher use by college students is very likely because this amphetamine drug, intended for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is sometimes used by students to stay awake and alert in order to complete course work and to study for exams,” the study reads in part.
What treatment and help options are available?
The Ohio Addiction Recovery Center suggests students who are abusing Adderall try their best to separate themselves from the situation.
For those who struggle with a more serious addiction, there is help available. Call the OARC at 866-288-0316 to learn more.