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The Dangerous Illegal Use of Neuroenhancing Drugs by College Students. Staring blankly at the computer screen, you just realized that it is three o clock in the morning and you are only halfway done with your English Research paper that is due in the morning. If you only worked hard for couple of hours, instead of checking the Internet every couple minutes you could have complete your paper by now. Then you ask your self are there drugs that can keep me focused on my paper all night. For millions of college students, these drugs are called Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil known by college students as "study drugs". Drugs like Adderall, Ritalin and provigil are known by Healthcare professionals are neuroenhancing drugs classified as amphetamines which help promote walk fullness by stimulating the brain causing the brain and body to speed up. Neuroenhancing drugs compounds like Adderall, Ritalin and Provigil have been around since the early 1900's and have been know to the general public as "speed" named for the drugs desirable stimulating effects. Neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil can treat a wide verity of conditions. The most common condition is call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found in children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines ADHD as a condition that causes people to have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. When used correctly and under the direct supervision of a physician neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil are effective to control this condition. In was in the late 1960's that research's from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) realized that drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil have a high risk abuse and negative side effects which cause dependency, irregular heartbeat, seizures, high blood pressure, heart failure, or sudden death. Because of the side effects, abuse, and dependency of neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil were regulated and classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as Class two narcotics made available by perception only in 1970. It wasn't until the 1990's that research's found there was a increasing amount of college students who were illegal using neuroenhancing drugs to gain a completive advantage and get high. The problem is with the increased safety and effectiveness of neuroenhancing drugs reported by pharmaceutical companies more universities and healthcare professionals are becoming more relaxed when it comes to regulating the use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. So with the increasing use of Neuroenhancing drugs by college students there should be more regulations put in place by healthcare professional along with prevention and intervention by parents and universities to help slow down the dangerous use of Neuroenhancing drugs by college students.
First, there should be more regulations put in place by Healthcare professionals to slow down the use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. It is estimated that over ninety percent of college students are able to obtain neuroenhancing drugs by faking ADHD symptoms. According to Barbara White PhD, Kathryn Becker-Blease PhD, and Kathleen Grace-Bishop MHSA, who wrote the article Stimulant Medication Use, Misuse, and Abuse in an Undergraduate and Graduate Student Sample found "nearly 10% of college students who misused or abused prescription stimulants held a prescription for the drug." (265). What White, Becker-Blease, Grace-Bishop, are saying is, college students might be faking ADHD symptoms to get prescription neuroenhancing drugs from their doctor to abuse or resell them. On the other hand, Dr Hedy Kober who is an assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology at Yale University argued for the use of neuroenhancing drugs by health people in an article called Study Drugs and Neural Enhancers: Science and Controversy "in a world where healthy people could get these drugs through a prescription she states this kind of drug use could be very helpful and practical." (2). What Dr Kober is saying is, she sees no problems with prescribe neuroenhancing drugs to health adults as long as the drugs are effective and legal. What Dr Kober doesn't realize is the side effects of taking neuroenhancing drugs which cause blood pressure, seizures, tremors, cardiac problems, or sudden death. The problem is do the benefits outweigh the risk when your healthy. These are all risks that a person with ADHD is willing to take to help their condition. With in mind, this raises the question are healthcare professionals to loosely diagnosing and prescribing prescription stimulants to college students. Furthermore, healthcare professionals that prescribe neuroenhancing drugs without the proper tests could cause the patient to be misdiagnosed which could increase the risk of an overdose of medication. Healthcare professionals should be required to conduct medical exams such as EKG's, MRI's, brain scans, and counseling with parents and teachers before prescribing neuroenhancing drugs to college students. Adding medical exams will also help healthcare professionals detect if a patient is faking their symptoms. These findings suggest that there should be tighter regulations and more education on the prescribing of neuroenhancing drugs by healthcare professionals to prevent college students from walking away from physician's office with dangerous neuroenhancing drugs.
Furthermore, there should be more done to prevent the illegal distribution of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. In the United States few universities are recognizing the growing problem of illegal distribution of neuroenhancing drugs by college students on campuses. When DeSantis PhD, Webb MA, and Noar PhD interviewed an undeclared freshmen college student the college student stated "Anybody really can get it just about anytime they want it. It is easier than beer to get."(321). DeSantis PhD, Webb MA, and Noar PhD are trying to make is, Neuroenhancing drugs are really easy to come by for just about any college students. Whereas, Sarah Sweeney who wrote in the article The Use of prescription Drugs For Academic Performance Enhancement in College Aged Students stated "colleges should possibly consider increasing the availability of stimulant medications on campus throughout the country rather than trying to regulate or prevent their use."(22). What Sarah is saying is, by flooding college campus with neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall or Ritalin will make college students feel like they don't have to use or distribute neuroenhancing drugs secretly. The problem with this view is that it will cause more harm than good. The reason why neuroenhancing drugs are regulated is because of their potential for abuse. College students also don't realize is neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil are classified as class two narcotics the same classification as marijuana and cocaine. What most college students don't realize is that selling and purchasing neuroenhancing drugs like Adderall and Ritalin without a prescription is a federal offence punishable with heavy fines or jail time. Also selling and purchasing neuroenhancing drugs without a prescription on a college campus can result in expulsion of the college student from the university. Furthermore, college students should be made more aware by their parents and universities of the severe penalties for purchasing illegal neuroenhancing drugs without a prescription.
Finally, there should be more intervention by universities and parents to educate college students about the dangers of illegally using neuroenhancing drugs. College students should be made aware about the physical and ethical dangers of illegally using neuroenhancing drugs which cause physical dependency, irregular heartbeat, seizure, high blood pressure, heart failure, and sudden death. DeSantis PhD, Webb, and Noar stated that "the most disturbing aspect of these students's first-time use was how little information they had about stimulants before trying them."(317). what DeSantis PhD, Webb and Noar is saying is, college students are taking neuroenhancing drugs without knowing the dose of the drug and how much to take. College Health centers at universities should be required hold yearly seminars to teach students how to manage and prevent misuse and abuse of neuroenhancing drugs. Yet, according to Henry Greely who wrote in the article Towards the Responsible use of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy stated "Ritalin and Adderall would allow us to become more focused, and attentive, and that we should therefore embrace their useâ€¦" (4). Henry is arguing for is the use of neuroenhancing drugs by anyone looking to enhance their minds. With this being said, universities and parents are not doing enough when it comes to the use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. Universities across country should begin to recognize the growing problem of illegal use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. The Universities and parents should be sitting down with college students to help them find alternative ways to help students cope with the stresses of academic life as well as personal problems at home. Universities and parents should also be teaching college students what it means to gain true honorable achievement in their work without taking shortcuts with neuroenhancing drugs.
Nevertheless, there are a countless number of people including healthcare professionals who are arguing over the ethical use of neuroenhancing drug use by college students. Millions of college students every year are abusing neuroenhancing drugs to gain a cognitive advantage or get high. The most important argument should be about more regulations being put in place by healthcare professionals and universities to help slow down the dangerous wide spread use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. Furthermore, with pharmaceutical companies are claiming that their products are safe and effective is making it harder to put more regulations on their products. It was in 2005 that M. Alexander Otto reported in the Associated Press and Bloomberg News that Adderall Xr had been linked to more than twenty student deaths and strokes. It was in 2006 the FDA required manufactures of Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil and other amphetamines carry a black box warning the strongest warning issued by the FDA that states Adderall, Ritalin, and Provigil and other amphetamines can cause sudden death, stroke, and heart attaches in children and adults. It was Francis Fukuyama who said it best in his book Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution "the original purpose of medicine is to heal the sick, not to turn healthy people into gods" (7) this being said, Francis is warning us about a future where it will be acceptable to use neuroenhancing drugs to gain a completive advantage. The real question you have to ask yourself is with all the risk of taking neuroenhancing drugs would you want for example a medical student working on you who is dependent on using neuroenhancing drugs to pass his exams or a medical student who genuinely worked hard without the use of neuroenhancing drugs to pass his exams.
In conclusion, with all the claims made by pharmaceutical companies that their products are safe and effective is making neuroenhancing drugs more appealing to take by healthy college students. Know all the dangers of taking neuroenhancing drugs which include physical dependency, irregular heartbeat, seizure, high blood pressure, heart failure, or sudden death it is the responsibility of healthcare professionals, universities, and parents to start recognizing the increasing illegal use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students. There is no denying that neuroenhancing drug help millions of college student's focus and complete their homework. The fact is millions of college students are illegally using neuroenhancing drugs to gain a cognitive advantage and get high. So despite the risks of imprisonment, expulsion, and health is it worth the risk? According to millions of college students the answer is a definite "yes". It has become apparent that pharmaceutical companies have created the illusion of real memory and knowledge in a pill. Making college students believe that there is wisdom in a pill, when in fact there is none. Furthermore pharmaceutical companies are also creating an illusion of performance in a pill. Making college students think they will have the ability to perform better when in fact neuroenhancing drugs turner college students into mindless drones allowing college students to produce long verbose non-creative papers. This is why everyone would agree that there needs to be more regulation put in place to slow down the illegal use of neuroenhancing drugs by college students.