Stimulant abuse a growing problem on college campuses

As college becomes increasingly competitive – not to mention expensive – more and more students are looking for new ways to get ahead. The pressure of trying to get good grades while also working to pay tuition can be a lot to handle.

Some students have tried to address this problem by turning to Ritalin, Adderall and other prescription stimulants to give them the focus and energy they desire. However, in doing so they often forget that these medications should only be used under the direction of a physician. Using Ritalin, Adderall or other ADD/ADHD prescription drugs without a prescription can have serious negative health effects. It is also a felony that can have long-lasting consequences.

Heath risks of stimulant abuse

Stimulant abuse is surprisingly common on college campuses. A recent study published in The Addiction Journal found that approximately 25 percent of college students have admitted to using ADD/ADHD medications to help with their schoolwork. Users report that the drugs help them stay awake and focused while the write papers or study for tests.

It is important to recognize, though, that these drugs have a significant potential for addiction. Further, without a doctor’s supervision, it can be difficult to determine the “correct” dosage. Taking too large of a dose – or taking too much over an extended period of time – can have a very damaging effect on the body.

As with most drugs, the body becomes acclimated to ADD/ADHD drugs over time. As such, users end up needing to take larger doses to achieve the same effect. Overdosing on prescription stimulants can cause death. Taking too high of a dose can also lead to dangerous side effects including elevated blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, seizures and even comas. Taking high doses over an extended period of time can lead to stroke and changes in personality and cognitive abilities.

Legal risks of stimulant abuse

In Florida, as in the rest of the country, possessing stimulant drugs without a valid prescription is a criminal offense. It is also a crime for someone with an ADD/ADHD prescription to sell prescription drugs or give their medication to another person.

The penalties for these crimes can include heavy fines, community service, probation and even prison time. In addition, a drug conviction can disqualify students from receiving many forms of financial aid and they may lose their driver’s license. It can also preclude students from being able to obtain some professional licenses or enter certain careers.

Abusing prescription drugs to do better in school simply isn’t worth the risk. However, if you or a loved one has gotten into trouble, it is important to take the issue seriously and mount a strong proactive defense. Contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who can help you assert your rights and protect your future.