EDITORIAL: Amphetamine Ignorance

As midterms rapidly approach, it seems like 24 hours are not nearly enough in order to fit in classes, extracurriculars, studying for exams, writing papers and, if we’re feeling really ambitious, a few precious hours of sleep.

The pressure to participate in numerous activities and perform academically at the collegiate level means that some students turn to illegal yet socially acceptable behavior: buying drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin, without a prescription to act as study aids.

In The Villanovan’s informal survey of 154 freshmen, half said that they knew of Villanova students who have used, bought or sold ADD/ADHD prescription drugs without holding a prescription for legitimate use. Even more sophomores, 60.2 percent of the 186 surveyed, said they knew of students who have abused these drugs.

Perhaps more noteworthy, though, was the openness with which students talked about ADD drug abuse. Many referred to times when they themselves had used the drugs, talked about how it had benefited them, or even mentioned that they had some on hand for future use. Few considered the illegal purchase and use of others’ prescription drugs to be a problem at Villanova.

Although we in no way condone drug use – few at Villanova would – when “miracle” study pills are offered for as little as $5, the allure is hard for many overwhelmed, overextended students to resist.

Villanova is a school of “well-rounded” students, something that the administration loves to tout in admissions material. Students are competitive and maintain involvement in a variety of activities in addition to academics.

The administration needs to recognize, however, that these “well-rounded” students often turn to illicit means to keep such high standards.

The issue of study aid drug abuse is not addressed by the administration, although literature on other drug abuse is common, even as these problems are not as widespread on campus.

With so much attention and so many resources dedicated to programs like AlcoholEdu and discussion of drugs and alcohol during orientation, it seems as if the administration is completely oblivious to a problem that is much more widespread than the use of other drugs. They should add programs that address the abuse of study aid drugs to the orientation lineup.

The administration should make use of health promotional material to educate students about the many dangers of abusing prescription study aids. These range from legal problems – it is a felony to take and purchase prescription drugs without a valid prescription, to health-related problems – Adderall use can lead to addiction, heart palpitations and even death.

The fact that so many students are comfortable discussing the abuse of study aids, even when they are dangerous, means that ignorance abounds. The administration needs to recognize the reality of study aid abuse and address student ignorance.