Time to address stimulant abuse on our campuses

Universities and colleges need to do more to protect young adults from the dangers of illicit stimulant use and to educate them about harms, argue the authors of an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Students use to keep them alert to enhance their academic performance, although the perceived benefits are questionable.

"The vast majority of the evidence shows no cognitive improvements with the use of stimulants when compared with placebo in healthy individuals. In short, students who think simply popping a pill will improve their grades or give them new-found academic abilities are sorely mistaken," write Dr. Daniel Rosenfield, CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Dr. Paul Hebert and coauthors.

"Abuse of such as and atomoxetine has been estimated at an alarming rate ranging from 5% to 35%. Without action, some of our best and brightest minds are at risk," they state.

Many students are unaware of the potential side effects and harms associated with stimulants. When stimulants are used without , used for the wrong purpose or taken inappropriately (i.e., snorting or injecting), harmful effects — such as irregular heart beat, overdose, depression, addiction and even death — are likely.

As universities and colleges are common venues for abuse of stimulants, given the perception that they boost grades, students need to recognize the seriousness of the issues. Universities need to engage students in focused health education campaigns that debunk myths and expose risks, and identify and address the root cause of stimulant use.

The authors conclude: "Like doping in sports, abuse of stimulants by our best and brightest students should be denormalized by being viewed as cheating or substance abuse, pure and simple."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers Study Academic Effects of ADHD Drugs

Jul 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Stimulant medications used to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, are often assumed to improve memory and make a person smarter, but experts have found that is not the case. Researchers ...

Study: 'Smart drug' Provigil may be habit-forming

Mar 17, 2009

(AP) -- A so-called "smart drug" popular with young people may carry more of an addiction risk than thought, a small government study suggests. Scans of 10 healthy men showed that the prescription drug Provigil ...

Alcohol consumption may increase amphetamine abuse

Dec 14, 2010

Stimulant drugs, which can increase energy and concentration, are widely abused by young adults. One such drug are amphetamines, which in addition to being widely accessible, has been shown in previous studies to have a significant ...

Recommended for you

Worldwide FGM ban sought at 'Girl Summit' (Update)

4 hours ago

British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Tuesday for a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation and child marriage as he launched the first UN-backed "Girl Summit" on issues that affect millions around the globe.

US college pays $190M in exam pix settlement

4 hours ago

A "rogue" gynecologist's secret use of tiny cameras to record hundreds of videos and photos of his patients' sex organs has led to a $190 million settlement with some 8,000 women and girls, lawyers said Monday.

Backscatter body scan redux

4 hours ago

Airline passengers have already said bon voyage to the controversial backscatter x-ray security scanners, pulled from U.S. airports in 2013 over concerns about privacy and potential radiation risks. But the ...

User comments