Means to an end in the classroom

Eoin Lyons ’15 Managing Editor

It's the morning of the SAT exam. As he pulls into the parking he glances at the piles of review books, empty coffee cups, and countless Five-Hour Energies lying next to him. He exhales as he pulls the bottle from his pocket, takes out a couple of pills, and quickly swallows them.

Administrators constantly warn students and parents of the dangers of alcohol in high school. Students undergo Wellness, Cura, and countless other talks advising them on healthy behaviors.

Despite this, students are missing a major issue. The real epidemic involves so-called "smart drugs," particularly Adderall, an amphetamine prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The easily available pill can help relieve academic pressures such as the SAT, ACT, or AP exams, which require a laser-like focus.

However, the use of this drug is both extremely dangerous and unfair. Adderall has become to school what steroids are to baseball: an illegal performance enhancer for a particularly competitive environment.

Many students don't realize how dangerous Adderall, a DEA Class II drug along with cocaine and opium, can truly be. A few weeks ago, Baltimore Ravens defense tackle Haloti Ngata was fined and banned for the abuse of Adderall. In November, a high school student in Indiana overdosed on Adderall a few months after a college football student manager died in the same way.

The dangers of the drug don't seem to dissuade as much as they should; in the past five years, Adderall abuse among 12th graders has greatly increased too. "The dangers that accompany drug abuse are not worth ruining the remainder of your academic career," says Alex San '16.

Those abusing Adderall are creating the unnecessary danger of addiction and overdose, as well as a disrespectful and unfair environment for those who need the drug. "Students who don't have ADHD should not use Adderall," says senior Ricky Matthews '15. "I don't think it is the right thing to do, taking drugs that enhance your ability to learn and work while others do their work without such help."

We live in a culture where the ends justify the means. But does that mean the illicit abuse of drugs in order to get ahead ought to be allowed? "Shouldn't your mental and physical health be more important than the possibility of being more focused during a test?" asks Alicia McNamara '17. It seems like nothing now, but taking these drugs without a prescription is risking at the least a rough night and perhaps even a worse habit that is far more dangerous.


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