Doctors should prescribe study drugs: psychiatrist
Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013 1:55PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 6, 2013 1:57PM PST
A expert on Attention Deficit Disorder says it’s better to have so called study drugs prescribed by a doctor than obtained off the Internet.
Dubbed ‘campus crack,’ a CTV News investigation revealed that B.C. students are getting their hands on Adderall – a prescription stimulant normally prescribed to people with the medical disorder ADD – to get a jolt of energy and aid concentration.
Psychiatrist and ADD expert Dr. Derryck Smith said people must accept that students are using the drugs and he’s calling for medical guidelines for doctors when prescribing these cognitive enhancers.
“We’re much better off having these prescribed by doctors than having people get them on the internet or from their friends,” he said.
“We spend large amounts of money on making people’s breast or noses bigger or smaller…why would we not allow people to spend money on cognitive enhancement?”
A University of British Columbia student who wanted to remain anonymous told CTV News he has used Adderall to get a brain boost when studying.
“It’s so competitive here, people seem to really only care about grades,” he said. He described the effects of the drug as “jittery, thirst, lack of sleep, fatigued, focused, able to get things done.”
A study published in December by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that up to 11 per cent of students have used prescription drugs hoping for an academic boost.
CTV investigator Mi-Jung Lee called a campus Adderall seller posing as a student trying to obtain the prescription drug. Lee asked if he sold to students.
“Yep, UBC, sure, adult students,” the seller replied, adding that she should take the drug half an hour before studying. He told CTV he also sells to lawyer, playwrights and others who need to concentrate for long periods of time.
While the demand for ADD prescription drugs in B.C. is booming, the medical community is divided, with some expressing growing concern about the misuse of pills like Adderall.
“Perhaps they think it’ll help them in exams and that but it’s a dangerous precedent to be using drugs for reasons other than what they should be prescribed for,” said Shelley Ross, President of the B.C. Medical Association.
“Be careful when you are prescribing drugs that you stick to the reasons for prescribing them,” she said.
Adderall is a controlled substance in Canada, and police have a warning for anyone buying or selling it.
“They’re taking a huge risk,” said Corporal Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP. “You will receive criminal charge of trafficking if you have large amounts of adderall in your possession and you’re selling it on campus.”