Dangers of Abusing ADHD Medication

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ADHD abuse is becoming more common on college campuses. Officials are seeing more cases and bigger dangers with the increase in use.

Prescription drug abuse isn't a new problem. For college campuses like UNL abuse of ADHD medication is becoming all too common as well. The real problem maybe the perception.

"I've taken it a few times, once was a big event. We wanted to have a good time. I heard through the grapevine, a bunch of friends that take it all the time, they say if you take it you can drink a lot more and when you come down you're really drunk. You can drink more through night, have more energy all night." says a UNL student that only wanted to identified as John.

John has only used Adderall a few times, but he says it's been great.

"When I took it I noticed I was really focused and was antsy, I wanted to do something. When party started it was more fun, I had more energy."

John does not have a prescription. Neither do the 3/4 of his friends he says he knows abuse the medication. UNL police say they have seen more cases, because of the bad reactions they are responding to after the users mix pills with alcohol.

"We are seeing more and more and seeing different things. Students blacking out, getting alcohol poisoning, sometimes make really poor choices and ending up in jail." says UNLPD Officer Charlotte Evans.

The problem is mixing the medication, a stimulant with the alcohol, a depressant. Experts say the combination creates unpredictable outcomes and can become very dangerous for students who don't realize they are drinking far past their limits.

Many students don't hear about the negative consequences. John had no idea he could be in danger. Another student who wanted to be identified as Joe knows the dangers involved, but that hasn't stopped him from illegally using Adderall. In fact what started out as a now and then thing, has turned into a routine.

"My friend had some and I told him I was having trouble in class and he said you should try this. I took it and I was eating breakfast and was like, oh ok, that kicked in. I went to class and never had anything so clear, the focus was so much better."

Joe admits to using Adderall 3-5 times a week for the past 2 years. He doesn't use it while drinking, for him it's a study aid.

"It's like cheating almost. I can spend this much time or take it and spend less time and be efficient."

Joe isn't alone. He estimates half of the students at UNL have used ADHD medication illegally at one time or another. Finals week is a perfect example of how widespread the problem has become.

"At the library we'd all study and everyone had their own hook up for Adderall. It was free flowing through campus. It's all over. Everyone i know can find Adderall any point in day." Joe said he could get some pills within minutes, depending on the drive time to his supplier.

Joe knows the legal trouble he could get into. He even warns others of the dangers of using Adderall and drinking. But he also says he has no plans to stop. In his mind the rewards outweigh the risks. A perception officials hope change before the problem gets any worse.