Risks need to be addressed

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There’s no easy way to getting better grades; students shouldn’t rely on a pill for a quick fix.

As CTV recently reported, the use of prescription medications designed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has increased on university campuses.

Specifically, students undiagnosed with ADD are using them to focus and study more effectively without getting a prescription from their doctor. As the CTV article indicated, 11 per cent of students say that they have used these drugs as study aids.

The trend is troubling, especially given that students who get the drugs without a prescription from random sellers on campus rarely receive the warning about the side effects that one would receive from a doctor.

Adderall and Ritalin, two of the most common medications used by students to increase their ability to pay attention and study, is known to cause severe mood swings, irritability, nausea and decreased appetite, as the Wall Street Journal outlines.

Even with all of these side effects, CTV reported how easy it was to find such drugs. They sent a news intern into the UBC library to hunt for these medications from students studying there. It took them a matter of minutes to access these drugs without a prescription.

It’s time for universities to not rely solely on doctors to educate people about these side effects. Students are using this drug with little to no awareness of the damage it may cause them. Given this trend, universities should work to raise awareness about the dangers of using these stimulants as study aids if one isn’t diagnosed with ADD.

Hopefully, this trend will also cause universities in Canada to address not just this particular issue, but the larger root causes.

Why are students compelled to take these drugs? Are university environments too stressful and competitive for students, forcing them to believe that they have to resort to medication to help them out?

The identification of this troubling trend should be a call for action from universities to educate and help students on the dangers they may face. Students shouldn’t see this as an easy way to better grades — the consequences are more complex than they may think.

— Journal Editorial Board

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