Friday, July 6, 2012


A recent article appeared in the June 9, 2012 issue of the New York Times entitled “ Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill”. Apparently stimulant medication ( amphetamine derivatives) used to treat ADHD are being taken by many students who do not have ADHD. Why? To get an edge in grades. From my experience, stimulant medications are widely used by high school and college students, particularly at competitive academic institutions. This article stated that one high school student said” Everyone in school has a prescription or has a friend who does.” Increasingly, students are taking higher doses or snorting one of the stimulants, ADDerall, to increase their test performance. As a psychologist, I have recently found that students diagnosed properly can’t even get this medication since it is in short supply.

Questions that occur to me are, for one, should all students in public and private schools have the same ”edge”? Chances are this will never happen. After all, in general, attending private schools already provides an edge. For another, what about changes in brain chemistry? Will these non-ADD students have to take stimulants for many years to keep their edge? And what about serious side effects over time?

No comments: