College students dread finals week all semester, and now that it's cram time, they're relying on what's been called "the study drug."
Adderall is prescribed to people with Attention Deficit Disorders, but college students who don't have prescriptions take advantage of its hyper–focusing effect.
"There would be times when I've had three
tests in one week, so the week before I'd start studying and I'd be taking it
three or four days just to study for all those tests," said one student of his Adderall use.
He didn't want to be identified, but said he's one of the many that use Adderall illegally.
"I'd say there's a good majority of Iowa State students that have. I don't think
anybody really thinks that it's a drug. It's just like a study tool
honestly," he said.
Doctors say there are a number of problems with abusing the drug without a prescription. One of those problems is that it might not even help.
"You learn under a certain state, and if you use something like Adderall to help you study, it may or may not help your performance," said A.R.N.P. Ed Piasecki. "You think it is, you're hyperfocused, but when you go to recall things on a test, that may not translate to a better grade."
For some, the drug is necessary. Another student who didn't want to go on camera said his A.D.D. impacted his ability to focus for years.
"Say you go on Wikipedia and look for something, all
the sudden you just hit the links, hit the links, and like two hours later,
you've got nothing done just because you
were that distracted," the student said of his disorder.
The students that do need the drug are what make it such an easy find for those who don't.
"I've had someone ask me if they can have an Adderall and it's like 'Oh, I'll just give it to them," the student said. "I won't sell it to them. And that's only happened once or twice."
Instead of abusing the drug, doctors recommend getting plenty of sleep and studying throughout the semester rather than cramming last minute.