Taking Adderall regularly can also encourage unhealthy habits and an over-reliance on the medication, said Eustace, of the South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center.
“Not doing the work until the very end and then the binge-type studying can be problematic,” Eustace said. “That feeds into a pattern of irresponsibility in terms of discipline and normal academic pursuits.”
For individuals with heart problems, study drugs can be deadly.
“When the kids bring the medication to school, they’ll offer it to a friend without realizing that if someone does have a cardiac disorder, it can lead to serious health problems,” said Dr. Mitch Spero, a practitioner at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood and the director of Child & Family Psychologists, which has offices in Plantation and Weston.
It can be even more problematic if mixed with alcohol or drugs like cocaine.
Said Spero: “The bottom line is, you should never take a medication without a prescription.”
Local college administrators are aware of the troubling statistics.
The University of Miami has a center for alcohol and other drug education known as PIER 21 that seeks to inform students about the negative consequences of high-risk drug use.
Florida International University has not had a documented problem with students abusing study drugs, spokesman Jean-Paul Renaud said. But when finals roll around, university health officials promote wellness and healthy study habits.
“We talk about good nutrition and discourage students from being fueled by things like caffeine and Adderall,” Assistant Director of University Health Services Mariela Gabaroni said. “We do little things, like make smoothies and provide comfortable places to study.”
Gabaroni added that Florida International University distributes information to students on health issues, and that articles on study drugs are frequently included.
“We don’t have students coming to us saying they have an addiction to Adderall, so we do what we can on the preventative side,” she said.