Education in a Pill?

Published on June 1, 2016 by in Success Stories



John stands on a corner waiting, and checks his phone for the time. 6:30am. He starts to worry when a kid turns the corner and walks up to him. He nervously chats while the kid hands over money.  John exchanges back a folded up piece of paper. The kid says thanks telling John how he needed to pass his test today and that John’s a “life saver”. They then turn and walk to school together.

This is not a scene from a movie or a book but an everyday occurrence at middle and high schools around the country. Kids selling ADHD medication to one another. Even good students turn to buying the drug from others when stressed about some upcoming tests or large school projects.

I know this because I was the kid waiting at the corner. During high school, I would sell my pills every now and then. There was always someone who wanted some.  I knew of at least two other kids who would get their prescription each month just to sell it. One of those kids used the money from selling his prescriptions to start selling other drugs.

I eventually ended up abusing stronger drugs and going to treatment. As for the other two, I have no idea what has become of them since high school.  I can imagine they fared too well since their first job in life was to peddle their ADHD meds at school.

Surprisingly, this story is by no means unique and a simple google search of ADHD medication being sold in school will result in hundreds of similar stories:

“At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents, and doctors.” – NY Times

“I know people that stay up for days off Adderall or Ritalin, and it does the same thing as coke,” said Abby Neff, another Sobriety High student who abused Ritalin. – ABC News

One unnamed teen told the Times, “I lie to my psychiatrist — I expressed feelings I didn’t really have, knowing the consequences of it.” – Times Magazine

These are only three of the hundreds of news articles and personal accounts drug dealing and use from an easily accessible stimulant that is viewed as safe. Accounts of those abusing it, comment it is similar to a cocaine high.

In stark contrast, the number of articles putting forward there will be some action taken on this issue are virtually nonexistent.

It is easily agreed upon by any sane person that abuse of prescription amphetamines such as Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, a problem. Though current guidelines for prescribing the medication make it easy to over-prescribe.

It may just be food for thought but guidelines for prescribing an addictive substance to children and young teens should not solely be based on the honesty of the patient but on a combination of factors including information about their family life, school and grades as well as the state of their physical health.

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