UIHC expert: don't take Adderall lightly


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Adderall is the study aid of choice for many students during finals week, but one family nurse practitioner said students shouldn't take the drug lightly.

David Barloon, who works in the chemical dependency and substance abuse clinic at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Adderall can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs if used improperly.

"[Students] just kind of have a sense that if it's not a street drug, it's kind of OK," he said. "But these are potent drugs."

Adderall is classified as a stimulant and an amphetamine, he said, which makes users more alert and awake, something students feel they need during long hours of studying for finals.

"You're more alert, and that certainly is important for someone who has ADHD, but for someone who doesn't have that, it works like speed," Barloon said

He said strokes, heart attacks, hypertension, and mental illness are risks associated with the improper use of the drug.

Much of the reason for the drug's popularity is the relative ease associated with obtaining a prescription, he said.

"It's out there a lot. It's very available … we certainly see it a lot," Barloon said. "There are some physicians that prescribe it fairly easily if you know the right words to say. It's too bad. It shouldn't work out that way."

Chloe Evans, 19, who attends Kirkwood Community College but is taking this semester off, said she tried Adderall for five-consecutive days without a prescription out of curiosity.

"For the first two days, I didn't really eat or sleep for, like, 48 hours, but I wasn't hungry or tired at all," she said. "It puts you in a really good mood, and you get really, really interested in things."

Though Evans didn't use the drug for academic purposes, she said she can see how it would be beneficial in allowing students to focus, adding she "read several entire novels in one sitting."

Other students have had more mixed experiences with the drug.

UI student Ben Johnson, who has ADD, was prescribed Adderall throughout high school but stopped before his first semester of college because he felt he was too dependent on it and he couldn't sleep.

"It's really hard to get to sleep. I find that it curbs my appetite," Johnson said. "It kind of curbed creativity and imagination, I thought, because I was more focused on the things that were in front of me."

Despite the negative effects of the drug, he said, he is going to renew his prescription next semester.

"This first semester of college I didn't really do to well focus-wise or study-wise," Johnson said. "So I'm going to get back on to see if my grades or schoolwork improve."

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18- to 22-year-olds who are enrolled full-time in college are twice as likely to use Adderall than non- or part-time students.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the drug is considered a "controlled substance" and police "run past it occasionally on a patron level."

Legal issues aside, Barloon said, there are healthier ways to prepare your body for the heavy studying that comes with finals week.

"This is all kind of common sense: get sleep, eat three meals a day, some coffee isn't so bad," Barloon said. "Avoid the Red Bulls, and the Monsters, and the Full Throttles, because they just get you real dehydrated and hopped up."

More people should be aware of the risks in taking Adderall, he said.

"Unfortunately there needs to be a lot more education about the drug," he said. "This is not a benign drug, and this is not a good way to study and stay awake."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.