Students abusing stimulant prescriptions for academic edge

A bottle of Ritalin sits on the counter of the Post Haste Pharmacy And Surgical Store on June 16, 2003 in Hollywood, Fla.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As high schools and colleges continue to become more competitive, students are seeking out medication for an academic edge.

The drugs, stimulants including Ritalin and Adderall, are usually prescribed to people with attention disorders. But what's the cost when these drugs get into the hands of students who don't actually need them?

We wanted to talk more about this topic after a recent New York Times Room for Debate collection.

Judith Warner, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and an opinion columnist for, will join The Daily Circuit Monday to discuss the over-use of stimulants in academic environments.

"The widespread abuse of stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall by teenagers and college students who don't have medical diagnoses of A.D.H.D. is a problem that has been created as much by adults as by the young people who actively engage in the illegal use and trade of the drugs," she wrote for The New York Times.

Psychologist and family physician Leonard Sax will also join the discussion.

"The next time you hear a doctor say, with regard to prescribing stimulant medications, 'let's try it and see whether it helps,' I suggest that you run - do not walk - to the nearest exit," Sax wrote for the NYTimes.


A lot of people take Adderall and are willing to admit they use it for an academic edge.

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