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TOPIC: In Their Own Words: '$5 for an A'

In Their Own Words: '$5 for an A' 15 Mar 2013 22:40 #69

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: '$5 for an A'


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
$5 for an A
Female, 17, Chicago

High school pressure is everything. And when you go to one of the top high schools in the Chicago suburbs, you'll do anything that you can to put yourself above the other 1200 students.

As AP Classes started adding up my junior year, I seemed to have an immense amount of work and absolutely no time to do any of it. I had always heard about people taking Adderall to focus, study longer, stay awake. Essentially, to create the time that they needed. So, as the workload piled up, my search for Adderall began. Within twenty four hours I had five pills in my hand, costing me a mere five dollars. Five dollars for an A on an exam didn't seem as if it were any kind of price to pay at all.

Once I got my first A from using a drug the night before, I continued using it. It was my crutch. It kept me awake, allowed me to study for eight hours, and improved my grades. The crash was a minor side effect to me. I merely felt exhausted and a bit shaky. Well worth it, I would think.

Naturally, the five pills were gone sooner than you could say AP US History. So I searched for more. It wasn't long until I found someone else who could get me more. Only this time it was Vyvanse, which was twice as strong. Only this time the price tripled. $3 a pill. Still, incredibly worth it. The Vyvanse crash was worse, but not bad to deter me at all.

Then one day, I found someone who gave out Concerta for free. And from that moment on, I was hooked. The benefits way out numbered any kind of negative that came along with it, or so I thought.

I soon start to see the downfalls in my relationships. I'd be unreliable, nasty, and just a flat out horrible friend. It seemed as though everyone was disappointed in me. Once this fact was screamed at me by a very good friend, I tried to stop. My use drastically decreased, but it's still the miracle solution to a long night filled with readings and papers to write.

...

Continue reading: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/10/education/stimulants-student-voices.html


**edit: corrected title
Last Edit: 16 Mar 2013 00:52 by michael.bailey.
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