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John Bair
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Performance Enhancing Drugs: Are College Students in Danger?


A hot topic on our blog recently has been our nation’s opioid epidemic, as it’s an issue that’s particularly close to our hearts at Milestone and relevant to millions of Americans. Our settlement planners have assisted many injured clients who take prescription opioid medication for their pain long after their lawsuits have been resolved. They are tragically put at risk of a dangerous addiction that for many people is impossible to stop without professional assistance.

These dangers associated with opioid use have been in nationwide news as of late. Many state and national campaigns are working to reduce the tragic statistics associated with these drugs. They have a long row to hoe; there were more than 20,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers in 2015 alone.

But there are other prescription medications that can lead to a dangerous addiction. Adderall and other “smart drugs,” for example, stimulate alertness and productivity by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. These drugs are particularly popular among high school and college students, according to AddictionCenter.com, a referral service that provides information about addiction treatment. High school and college students often don’t think twice about taking these, and as the number of kids diagnosed with ADHD continues to grow, the presence and ease of acquiring these performance enhancing drugs continues to increase. Their use becomes more acceptable. They’re thought of as harmless.  

Adderall addiction in college

But those who frequently take Adderall risk becoming dependent on the drug. Without it, they may experience withdrawal symptoms that could leave them mentally foggy, tired, or depressed until they take more. There are also long-term side effects of Adderall use, including hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (irregular heart rate), as explained by Brain and Body. More serious side effects of abusing Adderall long-term include heart disease and even sudden cardiac death. It is also possible that dependency on Adderall could lead to use of other dangerous substances. As discussed in this Elite Daily article, it can be considered the “ultimate gateway drug”.

Teenagers and college students already tend to think of themselves as invincible. While the country is engaged in a conversation about the opioid epidemic, we would be remiss if we did not draw attention to the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in the ever-strenuous and increasingly competitive academic space — and their potential to lead to bigger and worse things.

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