Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Zoning In": The Danger of Illicit Amphetamine Use

BY: Ted Luna, PharmD - UCF Pharmacist

Amphetamines are gaining popularity with college students across the nation. Students are “Zoning In” with illicit amphetamines in order to increase their ability to study harder or party longer. Adderall, a prescription stimulant, has been the “drug of choice.” This drug has been inappropriately used to enhance academic performance, stay awake for extended periods, heighten concentration, lose weight, and counteract the sedative effects of alcohol.

Psycho-stimulants like Adderall are medically intended to restore the balance of deficient neurotransmitters in the brain of patients diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When Adderall is taken as prescribed by a physician, in appropriate doses and under medical supervision, it helps increase the patient’s ability to stay focused and function like their peers. Using Adderall without a prescription is dangerous and illegal. Adderall may cause increase in heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, nervousness, seizures, aggressiveness, insomnia and sudden cardiac death in individuals with certain cardiac conditions. Adderall may also cause psychosis, paranoia, worsening of mental illness, weight loss, and changes in libido or erectile dysfunction. Using Adderall in combination with alcohol, illicit drugs (cocaine, speed, ecstasy) certain prescription drugs, or over the medications may significantly increase the potential for adverse reactions, including death.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies Adderall as a schedule II drug, the same category as morphine or oxycodone. Although these drugs have acceptable medical uses, they have a high potential for severe psychological or physical dependence with prolonged administration.

It is against the law to possess Adderall without a prescription. Giving Adderall to someone is just as illegal as selling the drug. Students that illicitly deliver (give/sell) or possess a schedule II drug without a prescription commit a felony drug offense, which may eliminate students from certain careers. Illegally possessing any drug violates UCF’s Code of Conduct.

Instead of using illicit stimulants, students should work on developing positive strategies to help manage the pressures of college life. The UCF Health Center, Wellness Center and Counseling Center all provide services to assist students in achieving their wellness and academic goals. Come by and see what we offer.

No comments: