Prescription drug abuse dangerous during finals



Column by Austin Hill

It’s Dead Week and some students resemble zombies, sleep walking around after all-nighters trying to squeeze every last bit of knowledge from the first week of the semester into their brains.

As a result, it is a popular time of year for students to start seeking ways to help study.

Students hunt down the ADD “pusher man” in their class looking for Adderall, Ritalin and other stimulant- based drugs to help them stay up all night to cram for finals.

I have heard students say when they use the medications they are able to stay up and focus all night long. This would be great, if it were true, or if they were indeed taking medications prescribed to them. What students do not realize, is if they do not have the disorder, the drugs will not help them focus.

If they did, then why not go to the doctor and get your own?

It is not the drugs affecting their ability to focus, the drugs are merely keeping them awake.

Anyone who has taken other people’s medications and claimed the drugs helped their cramming is suffering from the placebo effect.

Quite frankly, there are more effective ways to study without having to illegally obtain other people’s medications.

These medications, even for those with prescriptions, take a period before properly adjusting to an individual’s system.

Doctors treating patients using these types of drugs are supposed to give instructions on how to use the drugs and things to avoid — alcohol is one of those things.

Students using stimulants during finals week are unaware of potential damage to the liver in a short amount of time when consuming alcohol on top of stimulant drugs.

From what I have noticed, the student population does not need any help in destroying its liver with the amount of alcohol abuse on campus.

Another common issue people face when on these drugs is the enhanced urge to smoke. Anyone who has ever taken someone’s medication and stayed up chain smoking cigarettes while slurping Starbucks is also suffering from other side effects.

Many students I spoke with around the time of the tobacco ban claimed they only smoked in the morning after they had taken their medicine.

They also had coffee, and when combined with other stimulants, it has a reverse effect to someone trying to focus.

The thought that coffee will help some people concentrate is true. It is the same mindset that treating people with hyperactivity disorders with stimulants will help them focus.

However, too much of a good thing is bad in any case, and stimulants are no different.

People who over consume will not be able to form one thought before another. It almost creates the very disorder it is intended to treat, making people’s minds jump all over the place, forcing ideas into a proverbial funnel all at once rather than one at a time.

That is why doctors are intended to oversee these treatments, and even then there is risk for problems.

Sometimes people unconsciously suffer from side effects as they believe it is just the medication working, not knowing that they are hurting their body.

For those people who need to cram a semester’s worth of material into a week, know it is easier and more effective to rest for hours at a time to give your body time to recoup itself and then start again. Don’t see “wonder drugs” as the answer.

Find quiet places to read and don’t go to the library or a coffee shop because your friends are there.

Go places other students are not piling into, and if you need a couple of partners to keep you on track or to bounce ideas off of, then gather in places free of the distractions you are avoiding.

Consuming coffee helps sometimes, but a cup, not a pot, and I swear to you cigarettes will only hurt your studying. It was the first thing I figured out when I quit.

People who are up and down smoking all the time are counterproductive.

Exercise is a great release for those who need some time off. Take a long break and go to the gym or for a walk. It is OK to not be staring at this stuff all the time.

I make the mistake too. It is easy to write it off as effort if it is in front of you nonstop, but the truth is, it’s just wasting time.

The same kind of time people waste when they assume other people’s medications are the cure for a semester’s worth of poor study habits.