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Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that is characterized by abnormally short attention spans, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD is widely prescribed for children or teenagers who claim that their poor grades are attributable to a lack of focus or retention. This disorder has been the focus of large amounts of research, both in its origin and optimal treatment. Amphetamines, such as Adderal or Ritalin, are have been shown to be effective in increasing focus and attention.

These simulants aim to level out hormones which in turn enable one to counteract the symptoms of ADHD. However, the ongoing issue is that these drugs are falling into the hands of students who have not been diagnosed with ADHD. The overprescribing of these medications has led to increased illegal circulation, and these drugs too easily fall into the hands of people they were not prescribed to. Adderall does not increase skill or knowledge; it simply allows the individual to work quicker and with a higher level of focus.

Are Amphetamines Fair?

So if Amphetamines don’t make you smarter, then why is it that an abundance of students feel as though they need Adderall? The erroneous assumption that these drugs make you “smarter” has led to a large demand in students concerned about their grades. But is the use of stimulants considered cheating?

One could make the comparison that professional athletes are not allowed to take steroids in order to improve their performance; thus, students should not either. However, many students, especially those that actually suffer from ADHD say it is fair because they are not technically cheating.

Are Amphetamines Safe?

Stimulants such as Adderall are schedule 2 controlled substances that go in the same category as cocaine and Morphine. Although Dr. Hinshaw the co-author of ADHD explosion says that they are among the “safest drugs, he says if not closely monitored, college kids who start taking stimulants to boost their grades have a 15% likelihood of getting addicted. Ironic right? Any drug that you can gain a full dependency is not safe, especially when they are as mind altering as Amphetamines are. Adderall or “speed” is not for everyone — it is an addictive drug and is not without adverse effects. While it may benefit those with ADHD, do the rewards outweigh the risks? Do healthy children really need mental steroids or can they do it on their own? Better yet, why do we stand by while doctors prescribe speed to millions of healthy children, and is this the kind of society that we really want?