‘Study’ Drugs: An Emerging Trend In Drug Abuse

There is an alarming trend in the drug use of adolescents: prescription drug abuse for the purpose of better grades. Use of prescription drugs by high school students has increased by more than 30% in the last 5 years; almost a quarter of the students surveyed have abused these medications. Though pain killers once led in prescription drug abuse, stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD, such as Adderall and Ritalin, have taken over in popularity.

The increase of academic and extracurricular pressure is seen as the leading cause for the rise in drug abuse of amphetamines and stimulants. The perception that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as street drugs is a cause for concern. Recent surveys show that even most parents do not view the abuse of prescription drugs as risky. Adults and youths both often believe that since the drugs were initially prescribed by a doctor, they are not dangerous or can cause bodily damage.

These days, young adults are feeling the pressure build in many different ways. Their performance in school and other activities all with future goals of a degree, career, and success depends on excellence in so many areas. Acceptance in a university or college along trying to obtain scholarships may require remarkable grades and participation in a number of clubs and activities. These demands can be overwhelming to an adolescent who still does not have the psychological tools to deal with this type of physical and emotional strain.

Students take amphetamines and medical stimulants to help them stay awake and alert while studying for tests, preparing for finals and presentations, or participating in lectures. Those that are not prescribed these medications can experience severe exhaustion, abnormal heartbeat and serious psychological disorders stemming from addiction.

The majority of teens who use prescription drugs find them in the medicine cabinets of their parents, grandparents or other family members. When they buy or are given the drugs, it’s often from others in their age group who have acquired the pills from their households. Lastly, a plethora of online pharmacies have appeared on the Internet that do not require a medical prescription or proof of age to purchase amphetamines or other dangerous medications.

Many of the symptoms of prescription drug abuse are the same as other drugs or alcohol. Symptoms can include sudden changes in behavior, appetite or weight loss, sweating, shaking, dilated pupils, problems with school or work and issues with relationships or finances. It is imperative to seek the help of a medical professional before stopping the abuse of prescription drugs. Some medications can have acute side effects from sudden cessation. Withdrawal and recovery from addiction requires the supervision of qualified health care experts.

If you have questions or are concerned about an adolescent in your life, please seek medical assistance.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.