Students turn to ‘campus crack’ for competitive edge
Published Monday, February 4, 2013 3:12PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 7:27PM PST
Some university and college students are turning to a potentially dangerous prescription stimulant to gain a competitive edge over their peers.
Dubbed ‘campus crack,’ a CTV News investigation has learned that B.C. students are getting their hands on Adderall – a prescription stimulant normally prescribed to people with the medical disorder Attention Deficit Disorder – to get a jolt of energy and aid concentration.
A fourth-year University of British Columbia student, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he took the drug to help him focus and stay alert longer.
“I have tried the stimulants: Ritalin, Adderall,” he said. “It helps people to sleep less.”
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.
University of the Fraser Valley student Samantha Lenz knows students who use the ADD drugs, and wonders if these pills are giving them an unfair advantage.
“So maybe they are going to grasp something that I wasn't able to, and then they could have an edge over me,” Lenz said. “It's just like taking steroids to do better in a race.”
An undercover probe at a top U.S. university showed that it took less than a minute for an intern to find someone who was selling Adderall in the library.
CTV News sent a news intern into a UBC library with a hidden camera, and it didn’t take long to find someone who uses the stimulant.
The user said he had tried the drug, and simply obtained it by going to the student health centre and getting a prescription.
Students who want drugs like Adderall have to fill out a self-assessment that asks questions including whether they have problems getting work done efficiently.
The question is how many students getting prescriptions really do have Attention Deficit Disorder and how many just want a study aid.
UBC physician Dr. Patricia Mirwaldt says it’s a possibility that students are gaming the medical system in order to get access to the drugs.
“I would hope that it never happens,” she said.
UBC is launching a survey this month to find out just how many students may be abusing the pills.
Dr. Mirwaldt said the drugs may pose a serious risk to the health of students.
“If you already have high blood pressure and you use this medication, that can cause a really dangerous amount of high blood pressure and in worst case scenarios things like a heart attack or stroke,” she said.
CTV investigative reporter Mi-Jung Lee speaks with someone selling Adderall as a study aid tomorrow on CTV News at Six…