The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

VIDEO: Adderall abuse causes concern on campus

It is the academic version of steroids, only easier to get. It is a drug that inhibits focus and energy; two side effects college students would pay, steal and pop pills for.

“I think there’s too many of them, too many kids taking it that don’t really need it,” Howard Darby, a CVS pharmacist, said.

When asked to speak on adderall issues, most students were reluctant and declined. The problem is not that student’s don’t know it’s wrong, it’s that it has become somewhat of a social norm.

Adderall and related drugs are prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are in a class of drugs known as central nervous system stimulants. Students use the drug to help them focus on their studies.

“Some students get it from their friends, some get it illegally online,” John Sanger, a drug councilor at the Memorial Health Center, said.

It is popular, according to Darby, and easy to get. Many students, who would not allow their names to be published, said their friends would either give them the drug or sell it to them. They said everyone knows someone who has it and everyone knows someone willing to give it up.

Students’ talk about adderall like ibuprofen, you simply take it when you need it and it helps you. There is a nonchalant vibe surrounding the drug and one that is generally campus wide. It is a federal crime to sell the drug, but that doesn’t stop 51 percent of 50 randomly polled SMU students, who admitted to using the drug even though they did not have a prescription.

It has become as common as cough drops. One staff member said he finds the little blue and pink pills laying around classrooms weekly. Those little colorful pills can be more harmful than most students are aware.

“You have to think about that, if you’re taking someone else’s prescription that that drug is not designed for you,” Alison Mcdonagh, a junior SMU student prescribed adderall for ADHD, said.

Adderall and related drugs are addictive. They can cause serious heart problems and mental impairment. Mcdonagh says she has to hide her prescription out of fear that someone may attempt to steal it. She also said having the drug causes pressure since it is a drug “that is high in demand.”

Universities across the country are experiencing the adderall epidemic. According to a national statistic, six percent of college students have abused adderall. The number is much higher at SMU according to the poll.

Students who abuse adderall are much more likely to abuse other illegal drugs. Studies show that prescription drug abuse often leads to other drug abuse. Much like marijuana being the gateway drug to illegal drugs, adderall seems to be a gateway drug to prescription drug abuse.

It’s a problem officials say they don’t know how to fight. According to the Memorial Health Center, nothing is currently being done to diminish the abuse of adderall on the SMU campus. However, they do offer education on prescription drug abuse.


Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that 51 percent of students on campus had admitted to abusing adderall. It has been clarified to read that 51 percent of 50 randomly polled SMU students had admitted to doing so.

More to Discover