2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
College students across the country are overwhelmingly familiar with their peers taking illegal-stimulant drugs, such as Adderall, to increase focus, concentration and academic performance. The prevalence of students abusing Schedule-II substances has shown continual growth over the past decade as they have become more readily available with the increasing amount of ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions written in the United States. Students are thought to use these substances as a means of increasing alertness, to help study and concentrate, to stay awake longer, to increase energy levels, and to some pure experimentation. To examine the nutritional and cognitive side effects of prescription drug Adderall abuse and the relationship between private and public university student usage, 75 undergraduate students were surveyed both at the University of Kentucky and Saint Louis University. The participants included 76 males and 74 females (age 20.45 +/- 2.17 years). Nonprescription Adderall use was nearly the same between both universities, with 31.8% of students at the University of Kentucky and 31.4% of students at Saint Louis University reporting nonprescription Adderall use. Over ¾ of the students who reported taking Adderall believed the drug allowed them to study and function better. The primary reasons for taking the drug were to help them study and focus. While 61% of those who have taken nonprescription Adderall experienced a loss of appetite, only 20% believed it had a negative effect on their overall nutritional health. Considering all students reporting use admitted the drug could be easily obtained on both college campuses, this proves that there is an increasing prevalence of Adderall availability and usage on both campuses. Although the majority of students represented in this data reported not having experimented with the prescription drug Adderall and shows high percentages of students using it to study and function better, students should still be educated on this growing problem on college campuses that can pose negative threats on one's nutritional and health status.