Prescription drug abuse is personal choice


Ed Matthews//Kentucky Kernel Ed Matthews//Kentucky Kernel Tim Riley for an opinions column

Column by Tim Riley

I am not a doctor. I haven’t taken a biology class since the 11th grade and never intend to again.

But with that in mind, I still don’t have any problem supporting the use of Adderall and other amphetamines for purposes other than those they are explicitly prescribed.

Are there drawbacks and risks? Obviously.

Is it technically illegal? Of course.

Should that stop the average person for using them? No.

The reasons for its use don’t fall into the typical poor logic that can accompany such opinions.

Just because statistics say a great deal of people are using the drug to aid their studying on our very campus doesn’t make it acceptable. It’s the old, “If everyone jumped off a bridge…” saying everyone heard growing up.

It’s not a good idea, because it leads to a pseudo Brave New World situation. The expansion of the use of medical study aids is not a slippery slope towards dystopia.

No one advocating its use is saying people should regulate their entire life through the use of this or any other drug.

Of course, on the other hand, we should immediately throw out the arguments against its use I acknowledged before, the most irrelevant of them being whether it’s legal or not.

A mile-long list could be generated of things we now take for granted that used to be illegal. Moral decision-making should barely account for the wrongheadedness of law.

The health risks are still undeniable though, just like almost every substance we put into our bodies.

If you want to abuse ice cream, amphetamines or alcohol, then there are going to be serious problems; however, let’s not pretend a person using Adderall twice a semester to help them study is in any way likely to die a horrible death or suffer terrible side effects.

Let’s not even pretend this is anything like the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. The use of drugs to run faster and hit harder has nothing in common with the use of drugs to study all night and learn better.

Do the drugs give an advantage over the straight-edge student? Sure, but I’d personally rather have him working towards a cure for cancer than the other guy.

This is no slippery slope toward more dangerous drugs either. People don’t use amphetamines to cram for a test, then think, “Maybe I should try heroin…” anymore than they would if they drank alcohol at a party. The nightmare scenarios are nothing but the dreams of the anti-drug movement.

So why do I support its use? Cost-benefit analysis.

I cannot claim any task at a university cannot be accomplished sans drugs, but some can certainly be accomplished faster and better with drugs.

If one has two days to complete a task and he or she can either spend two days working on it or he or she can drug-up, finish it in one and go have fun the second day (with only a slight added risk), what option should he or she choose?

Every person is eventually going to die; therefore, it is prudent to minimize the time spent doing the things you won’t think about on your deathbed.

Not to say that they are unimportant things, but if they can be done easier, do them easier.

Now, am I telling everyone to run out and hit up their friends for pills? No.

But if you want to, more power to you. It is not anyone’s responsibility to tell you what you can or cannot put in your body but your own. It’s not the police, your parents or some articulate politician’s right to decide what is OK and what is not.

Do what you want to do with your life. If that includes popping a couple of pills so you can hammer out the latest in an endless string of papers, just be reasonable and have a good time.