Academic-doping risks outweigh benefits

Jennifer Garrido, Editor in Chief

Using drugs prescribed for other people is a felony. Using these drugs on school grounds takes the seriousness of that felony to a whole new level. Colleges nationwide such as the Community College of Allegheny in Pittsburgh and the University of Missouri have experienced the selling and distribution of Schedule II drugs including Adderall and Ritalin for the purposes of good test scores. These drugs are usually prescribed for those with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to help stimulate the hippocampus and memory components of the brain. However, these drugs’ effects are now being used in the hopes of higher test scores and better school performance.

West Shore’s AP Psychology teacher Jim Pustay explains how the drug works and how it effects students’ performance.

“Adderall does its job in stimulating endorphins and that allows for more memory pockets in the brain,” Pustay said. “It’s pushing out dopamine and that stimulation allows more memory to be retained and recalled. Overall, it helps you focus.”

Like most unnecessary drugs in excess, Adderall and Ritalin may pose serious health problems in a long-term view.

“In excess, the worst case would be a seizure, or I guess death. But mostly, it will do damage to the cell body of the neurons [in the brain],” Pustay said.

Not only will the misused drugs bring forth health concerns, but disciplinary consequences as well.

“Using, and especially selling, unprescribed drugs is a serious felony,” West Shore’s School Resource Officer Landmesser said. “I have heard the issue come up before, but not locally. I keep in contact with the SROs at other schools, and it hasn’t seemed to reach our area.”

If students have the need for the prescription drug, they may not carry it around campus leisurely, either.

“Even if the student has a prescription for the drug, it needs to be cleared through the school nurse so the consumption may be monitored,” Landmesser said.

Consequences and biases regarding whether or not students should be allowed to handle their own medicine on school grounds keeps the argument alive between students and teachers.

“I think if students are using drugs to get higher test scores, they should be expelled, no question,” former Chief Deputy of Police Bob Sarver said. “You’re using controlled substances. You should be treated like athletes who get disqualified for doing that.”

Although the problem has not reached Wildcat country yet, the effects and consequences of the drug remain the same.

“Remembering things for two hours isn’t learning, learning is what you retain in the long-run,” Sarver said.