Adderall: Academic Integrity Violation?


| 6 Comments
It is no mystery that the academic workload for the average college student can sometimes be overwhelming. It always seems that assignments, quizzes, exams, etc. all seem to bunch up and occur around the same times as another. With that being said, many students turn to the popular stimulant known as adderall to help cope with immense stress and maintain focus in their studies. In fact, a recent study suggests that adderall usage among students is rising, with close to 36% of all students having tried the drug at least once in their academic careers. 

Given it's physical effects on users, it is not shocking that adderall is the drug of choice when it comes to the desire to gain an edge in academic performance. The consumption of adderall triggers the release of adrenaline, causing sensations of increased energy and improved focus. Because adderall is a controlled substance, it is illegal to use the drug without a prescription. However, because of its considerable availability on campuses across America, students continue to frequent the drug on a regular basis.

Established that unlawful consumption of the drug is illegal, the question that I pose is whether or not consumption without a prescription should be considered an academic integrity violation of school policy. I believe that illegally using adderall creates an unfair advantage for those who partake and that it should be considered cheating. Adderall stimulates the brain for a long period of time and allows users to maintain focus and concentration better and longer than non-users. The following picture below depicts the human brain both while stimulated and not stimulated by adderall. As you can see, there is a significant increase in brain activity while on adderall. 
Adderall Effects
Some universities have already taken steps to try to reduce adderall consumption among students by enforcing penalties if caught. In December of 2013, the Office of Student Conduct at Duke University sent an email to the entire student body stating that the unlawful consumption of adderall was considered cheating and thus, an academic integrity violation. 

Although it would be hard to enforce strict penalties against those who abuse adderall illegally because of its ease of availability and the difficulty to prove consumption, more universities should adopt policies to try and educate students on the potential harmful effects of the drug in hopes to prevent its usage and promote academic integrity. 

6 Comments

I completely agree with you that adderall should be considered a violation of academic integrity. Although it would be hard to enforce, I believe that it is a good start to decreasing the usage. I think some students will not use it knowing that they would be violating rules. I also agree with your point that schools should educate students on side affects of this drug because I know that many students aren't exactly sure what the side effects and possible damages are.

Like Caio, I agree with your post too. Taking Adderall is an advantage over others who don't take it, so I feel that it should be a violation of academic integrity and be taken serious. The picture of the two different brains was shocking, I never knew the brain would be almost completely smothered with adrenaline. I wonder if there are effects to having too much adrenaline on the brain. Here is a website http://www.today.com/id/43050779/#.Up4O-RY546U where a few students discuss their use of Adderall and how it affected their lives negatively. One of the stories was a girl who got addicted to the pill in weeks and therefore started to have negative side effects that altered her personality and gave her insomnia and panic attacks. A pill that started out to help her only ended up hurting her as she was kicked out of her college.

I think adderol is absolutely a violation of academic integrity. I know many college students by it off of eachother to use to be able to focus better in school. I actually know someone who can never do work without it, thus using it as her only way to get good grades. She now does not know how to use her own brain to get her work done without the help of a drug. This should almost be considered cheating because if the person is not actually perscribed the drug, they are not using their own abiltiies. I feel this is a major issue.

Adderall is one of many stimulants that students take in order to help focus on studying whether it is illegally or legally. My question is what makes illegal use of the drug different from the prescribed use of the drug? Many of the symptoms of ADHD, which will allow a prescription of the drug, include procrastination, trouble finishing laborious tasks such as homework or chores, and being disorganized. These seem to be fairly common symptoms of a college student with a rigorous course load. Many of my friends have been diagnosed with the symptoms and received during their first year of school. Some people have more severe symptoms than others but everyone struggles with college life. The unlawful use of the drug is a choice many students make. It is not lawfully right to use the drug but it shouldn't be considered a violation of academic integrity. In my mind I don't consider it cheating being that it is still your own mind that you are using.

Your blog post was very interesting! I know many college students buy Adderall off of one another just as often as someone who's 21 buys underage students liquor and beer. Adderall (or similar prescription medications) are easy to get on campus, and are not too expensive. Penn State already has severe penalties for violating our code of academic integrity (like cheating on an exam, using someone else's paper, clicking in for someone else in a lecture hall, etc.) and it seems like using Adderall to get ahead on studying should also be an academic violation. However, a method of implementing this policy seems to be difficult. Perhaps Penn State could begin by imposing their sanctions if a student is caught selling/using the drug without a prescription by police. Another idea for implementing this would be to randomly drug test students, but does that impede on a person's right to privacy?
Although this is a difficult problem to address at the moment, I do think that many universities will follow Duke in making Adderall usage without a prescription a violation of academic integrity with consequences attached.

When I think about students who use adderall illegally to focus on school work or study for a test, I can't help but feel like it is cheating, similar to how body builders who use steroids have an unfair advantage. Cheating is already a violation of Penn State's academic integrity, but I can't see a way that illegal adderall usage could ever be enforced as a violation of academic integrity especially as it is happening before the actual test and not during. But, this is only accurate if adderall helps increase a person's memory. We know adderall increases focus, and it makes sense that people who have better focus will learn better, but can we confirm that adderall induced focus helps someone remember more things?
There are a few studies that reflect that stimulants increase memory retention: http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102177

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