Elite high school students across America face a lot of pressure to do well in school, to participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and to get into prestigious colleges that will prepare them for high-powered, lucrative careers. How do many of these students deal with the pressure and ensure their success? They take drugs.
The misuse and abuse of stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children has become part of the culture at many elite high schools, and the trend isn’t just limited to the famous prep schools on the east coast. “We’re seeing it all across the United States,” said Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) special agent Gary Boggs (NYT).
Students craving the focused energy and ability to go without sleep that these drugs provide often seek out other students known to have a prescription and buying pills off of them. Others fake the symptoms of ADHD to their parents and doctors in hopes of scoring a prescription of their own. The misuse of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall has become so prolific that the DEA lists them as Class 2 controlled substances, joining the list along with cocaine and morphine.
Using these drugs without doctor approval and regulation can lead to a host of side effects, including “depression and mood swings (from sleep deprivation), heart irregularities and acute exhaustion or psychosis during withdrawal… Little is known about the long-term effects of abuse of stimulants among the young. Drug counselors say that for some teenagers, the pills eventually become an entry to the abuse of painkillers and sleep aids” (NYT).
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