UM students say Adderall abused heavily during finals week


MISSOULA, Mont. - Their parents had coffee, but some of today's average college students have a new secret weapon: Adderall.

The prescription stimulant is used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder, but it has its own underground market at our nation's universities.

"It helps you study, and stay up late to study," said UM senior Will McGihon. "If you need to pull an all-nighter, it's pretty easy to take two Adderall and be fine."

McGihon says he has been diagnosed with ADD, and he's been prescribed Adderall for treatment, but he says he knows plenty of students who take it without a prescription. The semester winds down... Demand goes up.

"Most people I know have used it at one point or other whether or not they have a prescription. If someone knows you have a prescription, they'll ask you for some, if they can buy some. It's pretty widespread."

He's says demand for the drug goes up at the end of the year.

"Right around finals week, everybody's looking for a little edge."

Senior Rachel Raeon says she doesn't think Adderall should be compared to other prescription or illicit drugs.

"It's not a big, highly addictive thing. It's just, I need this kick right now, and I'm going to do it."

But pharmacists disagree.

"We all want to do the best we possibly can," said UM pharmacy manager Ken Chatriand. "Some people will take any means necessary to get a leg up on the next person. The stimulants work exactly that way. They will make you perform at a higher function, but they're so many consequences from them that it's really dangerous.

Pharmacy graduate student Anthony Peterson says the danger is even more visible under a microscope.

"Adderal is not that different chemically than methamphetamine, and everybody knows that meth is highly addictive. Those same properties are in Adderall as well," said Peterson.

McGihon says another hazard can be a change in the way people see other drugs.

"There's probably a casualness about taking prescription drugs - if you take Adderall or prescription drugs, (people think) that's fine, so (they) can try something a little bit more mind altering."

"I don't know if there's anything that can be done about it. People just do it. It's really under the table," said Raeon.

But she says she does see one upside

"At least they're studying with it, right? Getting something done."