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Talk to your kids about...Adderall?

PelicanDadPelicanDad Registered User Posts: 536 Member
edited April 2012 in Prep School Parents
Just noticed this 3-part series from Loomis Chaffee's student newspaper, the LOG. I'm well aware that such abuse occurs at the collegiate level, and not surprised to find out it exists in the BS world, either, but can't hurt to post the link here so parents can consider taking an active role in talking to your kids about stress management.

Tales from a world of performance and risk: Adderall at Loomis Chaffee | Loomis Chaffee Log

Addressing the Adderall problem | Loomis Chaffee Log

Performance High: Rethinking the ADHD problem | Loomis Chaffee Log
Post edited by PelicanDad on

Replies to: Talk to your kids about...Adderall?

  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    Very good reporting from a high school paper!

    I found this in the Harvard Crimson.
    Government data from surveys conducted in 2002 suggest that about one in 10 casual college-age users of illegally obtained Adderall reports his use as consistent with clinical levels of abuse and addiction. If you’re using Adderall illegally, the risk of becoming addicted to it or another stimulant drug (like cocaine or methamphetamine) is about 10 percent.

    So, if you use Adderall illegally or legally, it’s worth asking why you are in college and whether the path you’ve chosen best fits your personality and talents. It may be that many of you are in school because the other option is to live at home with your parents, playing video games and working at a restaurant. Or the academic work may be too hard. Your skills and interests lie elsewhere or are still to be determined. If you regularly require Adderall to cope or do well, you are likely still trying to squeeze yourself into that old, rigid educational hole your parents tried to shove you into before you were “on your own.”
    A Misuser?s Guide to Adderall | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    I find that an odd conclusion that someone who needs Adderall legally is not a good fit for college. If anything, for the right person, the drug makes it easier for them to focus.

    Although there are other substitutes that have no street value because they don't produce the requisite "buzz" non patients are looking for.high and might be a good choice for college students.
  • Momof7thgraderMomof7thgrader Registered User Posts: 317 Member
    As the parent of a child with diagnosed ADHD, I'm beyond offended by the Harvard article. What a ridiculous and narrow-minded position.

    On the other hand, I'm impressed that Loomis Chaffee is dealing with this openly but surprised that there is this illegal market. My understanding (from several other schools) was that kids taking stimulants need to have them directly dispensed from the health center. If I were a parent at LC, this is something that would give me pause. As a parent of kid who needs her medication I'd want to make sure she's taking it and if I were a parent of a kid who didn't need it I'd want to know that basic measures were being taken to make it that much more difficult to obtain.
  • AlbionAlbion Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    At some schools, once a student establishes a pattern of coming in regularly for medication, s/he may be allowed to get a week's supply at a time. That's a further matter for parents to investigate: sometimes even when the meds start at the health center, they may not always have to stay there.

    10 years ago I taught at an all-boys school with a thriving, open, illegal trade in Adderall. That was before schools started keeping medications in the hands of the school nurses and doctors. I told a lot of stunned boys that perscription drugs are still drugs; they aren't 100% safe to take for everyone at any time in any amount. I was not the only teacher actively involved in intervening and educating, either.

    Glad to see that Loomis is being honest and talking about the issue.
  • PelicanDadPelicanDad Registered User Posts: 536 Member
    ^^My thoughts exactly. I understand why Momof7thgrader states this expose might give her pause, but I'm not one to shoot the messenger. If this is happening at Loomis, you can pretty easily extrapolate that it is going on elsewhere. Same is true for "Perfectly Prep"; some people saw it as an excuse to scapegoat Pomfret, when in reality what the author described are themes that are endemic in the prep school world. I say kudos to former Head Brad Hastings for having the strength to support such self-evaluation, and the school is probably better for all the discussion that was generated.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-parents/571227-perfectly-prep-bolton.html?highlight=perfectly+prep
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    Fun search engine game! Search for "_______ Adderall." Fill in the blank with any prestigious college. Every college I tried in 5 minutes had an article about students using non-prescribed Adderall to study. The students interviewed usually blame the college's workload.

    Princeton: Campus Circle - The Adderall Culture

    Dartmouth: TheDartmouth.com: Some students turn to medicine as study aid

    Duke: Conduct policy changes reflect drug abuse | The Chronicle
    The unauthorized use of prescription medications—particularly drugs used in the treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder such as Ritalin or Adderall—in order to improve or enhance academic performance is now considered cheating as well as a violation of drug policy. In the past, the use of such drugs without a prescription was only a violation under the University’s drug policy.

    Stephen Bryan, associate dean of students and director of the Office of Student Conduct, wrote in an email Monday that students were the driving force behind this particular policy change. He added that administrators and students admit this policy will be challenging to enforce because it is difficult to prove a violation.

    “There is a perception—if not actuality—that Adderall abuse is rampant on campus,” Bryan said. “Enforcement is difficult, and the students who proposed this addition recognize this. They wanted to at least symbolically make a statement.

    Extra Credit! Search for "adderall ****"

    Some of the links include (anonymous) students admitting to using siblings' or girlfriends' prescriptions. No school makes student submit to a search for Adderall.
  • Momof7thgraderMomof7thgrader Registered User Posts: 317 Member
    Well, if one thing comes out of this, it is something I will be clarifying with the schools we revisit. Allowing ADHD kids to have a week's supply and self-medicate is irresponsible. The FDA doesn't even trust us parents with more than a 1 month supply.

    I'm well aware of the illegal use in college, and to some degree in HS, but I consider BS a more controlled atmosphere. I understand kids will always find drugs I don't support making it easy.
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    Which is why one of my husband's colleagues is suggesting to patients (especially their parents) to switch to an alternative (Vyvannse, etc) if tolerated because it has no street value. She's had patients whose rooms were tossed (robbed) by classmates looking for Adderall, etc.

    But the problem isn't limited to private schools. My other daughter's local "elite" private school had a thriving underground for stimulants - especially before midterms and finals. Most of it coming from their own prescriptions or their parent's medicine cabinets. :(
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    If a child is able to function as a boarding student, he should be able to keep track of his medications responsibly. If a student must make the trek to Health Services every morning, that will label him a student on medication. If he needs the medication to study, he's harming himself by not taking it.

    Dealing is an expellable offense. There's another thread on these boards about "helicopter parenting" by schools.

    It's also not necessarily the ADHD students who are dealing. A day student, or a student returning from vacation, could carry a sibling's "extra" medication to campus. I should add that I don't know of any such thing. It's just that students do need to be responsible and independent to thrive away from home.
  • Momof7thgraderMomof7thgrader Registered User Posts: 317 Member
    Periwinkle - I'm not worried about my kid being labeled as a "student on medication". I wouldn't even consider a school where that is seen as a negative. My child is quite comfortable with herself, understands her condition, will openly tell people about it and is not ashamed of it. I'm not at all worried about her being able to function as a boarding student.
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    It's good to ask about each school's prescription medication policies. Many schools' handbooks are on their websites. The nurses' office, or health services, often have a separate page on the website. It's worth your while to look at the forms each school demands for medication.

    On a day-to-day basis, requiring all students who require regular prescribed medication to stop by the nurses every day could become bothersome.

    Depending on the school, over-the-counter medication may also be restricted. Tylenol, Advil, allergy medication, etc.
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    @momofa7thgrader - it's usually not the patient that is dealing (or using) but students who might find ways to access the meds. Make sure, if your child, is going to be administering her own medication, she have a lock box with a strong lock so she and only she has access to them.
  • NYMom3NYMom3 Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    My son says that there are "a million" kids at Berkshire who take daily meds for ADHD or other reasons. While of course this is a gross exaggeration, clearly there is no shame in taking needed medicine. And kids there have to take their pills in front of the nurse. I believe that at most BS there are lots of kids who take meds, and if it isn't supervised, then look elsewhere.
  • RellielouRellielou Registered User Posts: 509 Member
    Two students were expelled from my ds's prep school this year for one sharing her ADHD meds with her roommate. Don't play around with this stuff- one offense may get you thrown out of school.
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