Study drugs or “smart drugs” are exceedingly popular among people in school. Doctors prescribe medications like Adderall and Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, people without ADHD engage in nonmedical use of prescription stimulants to boost their academic performance. The practice of nonmedical Adderall use, for example, is known as pharmacological cognitive enhancement (PCE). When people take stimulants, they hope to increase their powers of memory or concentration. While using drugs to gin up cognitive performance may help in some cases, the behavior can quickly lead to dependence and addiction.
Attempting to get a cognitive edge in school is understandable considering the daunting academic requirements placed upon young people today. The competition for placement in institutions of higher learning is fierce; it is fair to say that teens and young adults have to go above and beyond in ways unheard of just a couple decades ago. It isn’t enough anymore to just go to class and get straight A’s; one must also involve him or herself in myriad extracurricular activities and volunteer vast sums of their time. Even still, doing all the right things doesn’t guarantee placement.
It is quite easy for young people to get their hands on prescription stimulants without the help of a doctor. Classmates are all too willing to share with or sell their drugs to other students; evinced by the fact that the number of Americans reporting nonmedical stimulant use is on the rise.
Adderall and PCE in America and Beyond
Research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy looks into the results of the Global Drug Survey—an annual, anonymous online questionnaire about drug use worldwide. Zeroing in on the use of prescription stimulants, researchers found that 14% reported using stimulants at least once in 2017, up from 5% in 2015. In the United States, nearly 30% of American respondents admitted using drugs for PCE in 2017, up from 20% in 2015. The U.S. has the highest rates of nonmedical stimulant use; however, the practice has become more common in Europe of late.
US-style practices in ADHD treatment are occurring in Europe, The Scientific American reports. Stimulants are more available than ever which has led to a dramatic rise in people seeking pharmacological cognitive enhancement. In fact, the survey indicates that use in France rose from 3% in 2015 to 16% in 2017; and in the UK: from 5% to 23%.
“The increased diagnoses of ADHD and their prescription drug use is creating a substantial population of young pharmacologically medicated persons whose underlying problems may very likely be located in their social world,” says Steven Rose, a neuroscientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.
Stimulant Use Disorder
Given that there is not much evidence to support PCE via prescription stimulant, people using such drugs should strongly reconsider. Misusing amphetamines can severely complicate one’s life and lead to a host of problems. Each year, we treat a significant number of people at Synergy Group Services presenting for stimulant use disorder. If your use of Adderall or Ritalin has made your life unmanageable, Synergy can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin a journey of recovery. Please contact us today.
It goes without saying that a lot of what people see or hear in the media is, to put it simply, not true. For educated adults that is an obvious reality. However, for adolescents and young adults who are prone to naivety, media output is often taken to be factual. For the most part, such ignorance is not all that harmful, but there are occasions when what is seen or heard on television or the Internet leads people down a destructive path. Especially regarding the use of drugs and alcohol.
When it comes to addictive substances, there is a lot that even experts do not fully understand. But, what they do know can help young people make more informed decisions about the use of mind altering substances. Unfortunately, media outlets rarely turn to such experts before disseminating. Unfortunately, what young people learn from the media, actually shapes how they view certain subjects. A young person sees actors enjoying the use of certain substances, seemingly without consequence. In turn, said person forms an opinion that the use of drugs or alcohol is safe.
For some people, those types of misconceptions can lead to drug use, abuse and addiction. Which is why it is vital that experts engage regularly with young people about the inherent dangers of substance use—with the goal of debunking certain myths.
The Truth About Addiction, Is Often, A Partially Told Story
The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA) use the month of January to focus on enlightening young people about drugs and alcohol—to Shatter the Myths they might have about their dangers. This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), and in communities and schools around the country, addiction experts have been engaging with young people to refute the myths about alcohol and drug use fostered over the:
- Social Media
Please watch a short video featuring NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow and NIAAA Director, Dr. George Koob, on the subject:
If you are having trouble watching, please click here.
Changing Your Relationship With Drugs and Alcohol
Unfortunately, there are many young people who started down the dark road of addiction without having all the facts. Drug and alcohol use in high school, commonly results in continued use in college in beyond. If you or a loved one is battling the disease of addiction, please let Synergy Group Services help you break the cycle of addiction, and learn to live life free from the grip of all mind-altering substances. Our experienced staff specializes in treating young adults from the age of 18 to 24, living with addiction.