High school and college students are arriving at the toughest times of their semester, finals. Assignments, tests and expectations to excel in all areas are surrounding students from all directions. With all of this pressure and stress, students may be tempted to use substances to boost their performance.

The ‘study-drug’ Epidemic Sweeping Schools, an article from a California high school newspaper comes at an appropriate time when discussing sharing prescription medication in schools. Adderall is a commonly prescribed stimulant for those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or suffering from narcolepsy. The medication allows individuals with these conditions to be able to focus and function like an individual without any health conditions.

The reason many individuals take Adderall who do not have conditions such as ADHD is to reap the desired benefits of focus and productivity associated with the drug. In times when students, athletes or other individuals feel pressured to perform at a standard they do not see obtainable on their own, Adderall is unfortunately an avenue they take.

So why is taking or sharing Adderall that is not prescribed to you bad?

The biggest red-flag when it comes to sharing medication is the fact that the individual was not prescribed it. The person who was originally prescribed the medication has a medical condition a licensed professional assessed and deemed fit for that type of treatment. Not only is sharing medication dangerous as a whole, but Adderall and other similar medications are easily addictive.

Adderall deals with the chemical balance in an individual’s brain that has a condition such as ADHD. Adderall works by stimulating the central nervous system, increasing the availability of norepinephrine and dopamine to speed up brain activity.

Nearly five percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC, so it’s not surprising how much Adderall or similar medications are out in circulation. The danger becomes when students share this prescription with their friends without the medical condition. The best way we can combat this is to educate kids about positive alternatives for stress management.

Stress management is a topic that really is not talked about in high school education but is so vital to physical and psychological health. Suggestions such as getting exercise, having a hobby or creating a support group that you can discuss your situations and possible solutions with are great ways to work on resolving stress.

MDC has tips on our website with different ways you can talk to you teens about substance use. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call the Tennessee REDLINE at 1-800-899-9789 for 24/7 free, confidential help.