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NY Senator, Chuck Schumer, Wants to End “Academic Doping”

Update Date: Jun 17, 2013 12:35 PM EDT

College students are often slammed with tests, schoolwork and other extracurricular activities. Due to these levels of stress, some students develop great time management skills while others might turn to an easier, but dangerous, alternative, drugs. The use of prescription drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, which are meant for people with learning disabilities, have grown into a national problem with college and high school students abusing these academic enhancing drugs. Now, New York Senator, Chuck Schumer, has called upon college campuses for their help in preventing this growing trend of abusing prescriptions.

Adderall and Ritalin, two of the most commonly abused drugs on campus are usually prescribed to people with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs help people focus and concentrate on schoolwork. Due to the fact that these drugs improve concentration, more and more people without ADD and ADHD have enlisted the aid of these prescription drugs for academic purposes. According to several reports, roughly 15 to 30 percent of college students have admitted to using these drugs for non-medical reasons.

With the fear of these rates rising, Senator Schumer has asked all colleges to have a plan ready for the new semester that could help curb prescription drug abuse. Senator Schumer stated that college campus clinics must do a better job screening and monitoring students who are prescribed or want to be prescribed with these types of medications. He wants school health centers to take the time and do a full workup and generate a patient profile with substantial information of the student's condition and history of prescription drug use. Schumer added that if campus health centers cannot do this, they should not be prescribing any ADHD drugs at all.

"For somebody to call up and say 'well, my doctors prescribed it at home, send me pills, here's the prescription number...' that's not good enough," the senator said in his speech on Sunday. "If a student gets 100 or 200 Adderall pills, even if they are legitimately entitled, they may lend a bunch to their friends."

Schumer specifically outlined two different ways that campus health centers should start incorporating. First, Schumer states that if students are diagnosed on school grounds, there should be formal contracts and follow-ups. The doctors must also create a full extensive medical, educational, and psychology report. Second, he stated that if the diagnosis occurred at an outside clinic or health center, prescription refills must also require a mental health evaluation and confirmation of the diagnosis by parents or guardian.

Schumer hopes that if college campuses screened patients seeking these prescription drugs better, they could potentially lower the percentages of students abusing these drugs for academic purposes. 

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