When you sent your son or daughter off to college here in Pennsylvania, you probably experienced excitement, pride and trepidation all at the same time. You want your child to do well, but you also know that this is the first time he or she is away from home.
When you think about the trouble your college student could get into, you probably think about parties where alcohol and drugs like marijuana may be present. You may not have anticipated that your child would get caught with so-called "study drugs," and now he or she faces charges of drug possession.
What's a study drug?
Intense academic competition and the stress that accompanies going to college can become too much. Even though the majority of students would never consider using illegal or illicit drugs, they may not think twice about using study drugs in an attempt to get a "leg up" on their peers and their coursework. Supposedly, people use study drugs, also referred to as cognitive enhancers, smart drugs and neuro enhancers, to improve the following mental functions:
The drugs used are legal drugs often prescribed for attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and they include each of the following:
These drugs can have serious side effects, especially if not prescribed to your child.
Ritalin and Concerta
These two stimulants fall into the family of methylphenidate medications. They work by increasing norepinephrine in the brain and increasing the production of dopamine by neurotransmitters. Doctors prescribe these medications for ADHD, lethargy, narcolepsy, depression and senility.
Attenade and Focalin
These two medications function much the same as Ritalin and Concerta but on a smaller scale. They only contain one of the two compounds that make up the other, stronger, medications. Unlike the other two medications, which have been around for several decades, these medications only became available in 2002 and 2005.
Adderall is an amphetamine. This drug came on the market in 1996 for narcolepsy and ADHD. It increases the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This stimulant also increases levels of histamine, epinephrine and serotonin.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Vyvanse for use as an anti-ADHD medication. It has a lower potential for addiction than Adderall, and the addition of L-lysine releases the amphetamine into the body at a slower rate.
Why are these drugs addictive
Any drug that increases dopamine production could potentially lead to addiction, which all of these drugs do. They suppress appetite (weight control), cause a feeling of euphoria (high feeling), and increase wakefulness and alertness (enhance academic performance).
Current estimates indicate that as many as 67 percent of college students abuse study drugs compared to only 33 percent of non-college students. Because these drugs carry a high potential for addiction, many students end up with a problem. If they happen to encounter police with prescription drugs not prescribed to them, they could end up under arrest.
If this happened to your son or daughter, quick action might help resolve the situation in a manner that gets your child the help they need not to hurt their future.