In an effort to combat the growing popularity of Adderall, one student group waged an anti-study drug campaign on campus this week in the hopes of offering alternatives to the substance.
Students for Safer Studying – a group which grew out of Communication 175IP under the supervision of communication professor Walid Afifi – seeks to examine study habits on campus and inform the community of the dangers of study drugs. On June 3 and 4, the organization provided students passing by the UCen with chocolate, massages and other de-stressors to encourage safer study habits.
Members of SfSS posted signs with the slogan “Adderall: not for all!” around campus to garner attention for their campaign. Additionally, the group handed out a series of pamphlets reporting the risks of Adderall and offering tips to study effectively without the drug.
According to Lauren Christenson, a student in Comm 175IP, the group hopes to discourage people from taking the drug because of its dangerous side effects, which include insomnia, hallucinations, impotence, social withdrawal and heart failure. Despite such negative consequences, Christenson said Adderall remains one of the most popular study drugs used on college campuses.
“From research, on average 76 percent of college students have at least tried Adderall,” Christenson said. “Our goal was to show students how to de-stress with tips on how to study efficiently while staying healthy – we had a masseuse and we were giving out stress balls and gym passes.”
Christenson, a fourth-year communication major, said she was surprised by the high percentage of students who were not familiar with the oft-abused substance.
“There have been a lot of people that stopped by that have never even heard of Adderall, which is good because it allows us to raise awareness about the drug and its effects so that they can make informed decisions,” she said.
However, Joe Chung, a second-year sociology major, said he considers Adderall the main study drug of choice for this generation of students.
“It’s the academic steroids of the 21st century,” Chung said. “Trust me, I know about these things.”
However, in place of the drug, the organization recommends turning to somewhat safer alternatives like coffee, chocolate bars and energy drinks.
According to professor Afifi, while such alternatives may have negative aspects, they are minor compared to the potential dangers of study drugs like Adderall.
“Coffee and energy drinks have downsides as well, but the side effects are not as dangerous as with Adderall,” Afifi said. “We wanted to offer realistic alternatives to study drugs and I think it was a good learning experience overall for everyone involved.”