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TOPIC: In Their Own Words: Giving In

In Their Own Words: Giving In 21 Feb 2013 22:57 #45

CAOOY Note: "In Their Own Words" is a series of editorials written by teens and young adults, male and female, from across the country, regarding their experiences with ADHD/depressive medication. We will continue featuring selections from the page, but if you would like to read more go here. Each will be prefaced by Alan Schwarz of The New York Times.

In Their Own Words: ‘Study Drugs’

At high schools around the nation, pressure over grades and competition for
college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants.

A 16-year-old, determined to succeed on her own merits, who finally bends under the pressure. Students with legitimate prescriptions who are hounded for their pills. Young men and women whose use of stimulants spirals out of control.

After inviting students to submit personal stories of the abuse of prescription drugs for academic advantage, The Times received almost 200 submissions. While a majority focused on the prevalence of these drugs on college campuses, many wrote about their increasing appearance in high schools, the focus of our article on Sunday. We have highlighted about 30 of the submissions below, almost all written by current high school students or recent graduates.

In often vivid detail — snorting their own pills, stealing pills from friends — the students described an issue that they found upsetting, valuable, dangerous and, above all else, real. Most of them claimed that it was a problem rooted not in drugs per se, but with the pressure that compelled some youngsters to use them.
— Alan Schwarz
Giving In
Female, 16, Minneapolis

I was always a smart student. I did my homework, paid attention in class, and generally had enough drive to earn A's in the classes I took. I didn't have any need to take Adderall, and when people offered it to me, I always declined, thinking I was self-driven enough to achieve success without the use of drugs. My closest friends, who were a little bit less motivated than I was, raved about Adderall. Even my brother, a freshman in college, told me to take it. I kept declining and declining, convincing myself that people like me didn't need Adderall to help them get by. It wasn't until one week, when my homework load was particularly heavy, I considered using it. A kid in one of my classes sold Adderall and always offered it to me at least twice a week. To his surprise, and to mine, when he asked me that Tuesday morning if I wanted to buy some, I actually said yes. I bought two 20 mg pills from him for $6. That night when I went home and stared at the pills. I don't know if it was the lack of self-motivation, the chronic fatigue of school, or the sleep-deprivation, or a combination of all three, but something inside of me that sparked the drive to be independently successful died, and I swallowed the pills. Much to my dismay, I discovered that Adderall was everything people made it to be and more. I found a complete surge of adrenaline and ecstasy flow through my brain as I tackled factoring, science notes, and a four-page paper all in one night. And when that night's homework was done, I did the next night's. I was on a role, and I couldn't stop. After that, I began to use Adderall whenever I had a lot of studying to do. I also used it to help me focus during exams. Adderall is popular in my school, where it's highly competitive. Everyone is competing against each other for scholarships and it definitely gives you an extra edge over students who don't take it. As much as I was initally against Adderall, I cannot deny the fact that it's completely effective.


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