Vice Squad
Saturday, February 23, 2008
 
One Student's Adderall Story


Via Reihan writing at Andrew Sullivan's blog we learn of this article by a college senior describing her experiences of studying under the influence of Adderall. She thinks the drug was performance enhancing for her, at least if "performance" refers to grades. Here's a brief excerpt:
If the proof is in the transcript, then Adderall is hardly a self-punishing habit. Sometimes I think about how Marion Jones has to return all the prize money she earned while taking steroids, and I wonder whether I should be stripped of all the A’s I received for papers written on Adderall. This is a haunting or a comical thought, depending on my mood.
Despite the grade enhancement, she stopped using Adderall in her senior year -- grades aren't everything. As for her ability to study and churn out papers while using Adderall, in her case, "It turns out that the feverish moral imperative to work was an effect of the drug, not a cause."

The use of pharmaceuticals for "recreational" purposes is much more prevalent in the US than is the use of cocaine and heroin and hallucinogens, combined. Yet another good reason to legalize and regulate the currently illicit drugs: it isn't that hard to find close substitutes among the legal drugs.

Here's a table reproduced from SAMHSA showing prevalence rates:

70410
Table 1.1B – Types of Illicit Drug Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older: Percentages, 2005 and 2006
Drug
TIME PERIOD
Lifetime
Past Year
Past Month
2005
2006
2005
2006
2005
2006
*Low precision; no estimate reported.
a Difference between estimate and 2006 estimate is statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
b Difference between estimate and 2006 estimate is statistically significant at the 0.01 level.
1 Illicit Drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used nonmedically. Illicit Drugs Other Than Marijuana include cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used nonmedically.
2 Nonmedical use of prescription-type psychotherapeutics includes the nonmedical use of pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives and does not include over-the-counter drugs.
Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2005 and 2006.
ILLICIT DRUGS1
46.1 45.4 14.4 14.5 8.1 8.3
Marijuana and Hashish 40.1 39.8 10.4 10.3 6.0 6.0
Cocaine 13.8 14.3 2.3 2.5 1.0 1.0
Crack 3.3 3.5 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.3
Heroin 1.5 1.5 0.2 0.2 0.1a 0.1
Hallucinogens 13.9 14.3 1.6 1.6 0.4 0.4
LSD 9.2 9.5 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.1
PCP 2.7 2.7 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0
Ecstasy 4.7 5.0 0.8 0.9 0.2 0.2
Inhalants 9.4 9.3 0.9 0.9 0.3 0.3
Nonmedical Use of Psychotherapeutics2 20.0 20.3 6.2a 6.6 2.6 2.8
Pain Relievers 13.4 13.6 4.9 5.1 1.9 2.1
OxyContin® 1.4b 1.7 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.1
Tranquilizers 8.7 8.7 2.2 2.1 0.7 0.7
Stimulants 7.8 8.2 1.1b 1.4 0.4 0.5
Sedatives 3.7 3.6 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.2
ILLICIT DRUGS OTHER THAN MARIJUANA1
29.5 29.6 8.3 8.6 3.7 3.9

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