Rethinking Adderall use

While not necessarily cheating, unprescribed use of Adderall gives students an unfair advantage.

The Minnesota Daily recently explored how some students use Adderall to improve their focus while studying.

In the article published last week, experts discussed the unknown health effects of the drug over time and weighed the potential for drug use to constitute cheating.

A student with ADHD told the Daily he relies on Adderall just to achieve a manageable amount of anxiety and focus.

Finger-wagging from the Daily’s editorial board isn’t going to stem student Adderall use, but we must acknowledge popping pills to help with coursework, while not “cheating” per se, is dishonest, at least. College is a time to learn focus and time management skills, and prescription drug abuse undermines that.

Finally, it’s important to remember that using Adderall and other drugs to increase academic success is a very privileged practice.

It doesn’t just require access to higher education and the means to get drugs. Taking Adderall to study for finals or complete a particularly difficult assignment means the user likely already has control of his or her anxiety and focus. Many students aren’t so lucky.

Using unprescribed Adderall for schoolwork is a personal choice and shouldn’t be considered cheating, at least not exactly. All things being equal, the students are still learning and completing coursework themselves.

But this type of Adderall use does give students an unfair advantage, especially over those who rely on the medication to manage a disorder.