It’s midterm season, and every student’s life has been a little hectic lately. When it comes time for finals, we don’t have class during the week, allowing more time for students to study. During midterms, however, students still have to attend regularly scheduled classes, on top of participating in extracurriculars and other activities. I can understand it’s very difficult and stressful to squeeze in study time during all these things. But many students still manage to do so successfully and pass their exams with flying colors.

So how do they do it? They know that school is a priority and sometimes that means making sacrifices like staying in on a Friday night or skipping this week’s episode of “Jersey Shore.” But some students still can’t seem to find time to adequately prepare for their tests, so they end up cramming the night before — or even the day of — their exam. Thankfully, I’ve never had to do this. I’ve been able to find additional time to study well in advance for my tests so I’m not stressing right before. But students who do end up cramming obviously need some sort of artificial help to stay focused and stay awake. For many, the solution to this problem is caffeine, whether it be in the form of coffee or Pepsi Max. Some will take small breaks, listening to music to refocus, or watch a funny You-tube video before they go back to studying. But what if you wait so long to study for an exam that you don’t even have time for that? Well, there is one other solution that is becoming increasingly popular — Adderall.

Adderall — originally a drug prescribed to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — is now being used by college students who need to sit down for six hours or more and cram for an exam. According to a 2006-2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7 percent of full-time college students are using Adderall illegally. This number may not seem like a lot, but in my freshman class of about 6,000, that means 420 students are abusing Adderall. And college students ages 18 to 22 are twice as likely to use the drug illegally than those not enrolled in college. Though not expensive — pills sold at the University of Oregon have been reported to go for $5 to $15 per pill — this drug can lead down a dangerous path.

Adderall is perceived as a quick fix to stay awake and get some work done. And it seems harmless — after all, it’s legally prescribed to many people — but it has the potential to further an individual’s drug use. There have been multiple depictions in the media of a Wall Street banker snorting a line of cocaine in the bathroom to stay up all night and party after working an 18-hour day. That person didn’t walk into his job thinking, “I’m going to need to become a coke user to get through these next few years.” He started out thinking he would be able to handle it, and when he became overworked and was left with no other option, he turned to drug use. Cocaine might be a bit of an extreme example, but it has the same basis as using Adderrall. Students who feel like they have no other option will turn to this drug to get them through midterms and finals. It may prove to be a good idea in the short-run, but drugs are never a good idea in the long-run.

If students can’t be successful at the University without using artificial means, will they be able to be successful in life? It’s unrealistic to think that you can depend on Adderall to get you through a particularly busy week of work or a long meeting you need to focus on. Students shouldn’t use this drug as a quick-fix. In the real world, drugs can’t solve your problems — they will only make them worse.

Ashley Griesshammer is a senior editorial page ashleymg@umich.edu.

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