Use of amphetamines is a personal decision
Ask anyone if they take a stimulant and most people will have to say yes. Why? Well, who doesn’t take a little caffeine in the morning?
Either in coffee or tea — or for the more direct approach, caffeine pills, stimulants give you the alertness to get up and go. However, an unavoidable tolerance builds up and then causes you to need caffeine just to function like you did before you ever started. If you quit you’ll be worse off from withdrawal, so the only choices are to keep taking the same amount, which will only make you as good as anyone not taking it, or increase the dose, thereby damaging your heath over time.
Now imagine everything just mentioned times ten. Welcome to amphetamines.
Adderall, Vyvanse, and Dexedrine are forms of amphetamines, psychostimulants similar to caffeine and nicotine. These are drugs with cognitive enhancing properties. For those not taking stimulants, cognitive enhancing drugs act as brain food that may aid in focusing. However, the difference between caffeine and amphetamines is stark.
Legally, amphetamines treat ADD, ADHD, narcolepsy, and a few other obscure syndromes. Once discovered by those who are not legally prescribed, stimulants may have a high potential for recreational use. Recreational use may be the product of those who make the connection to its academic performance enhancing abilities. Sure, this is the drug your parents and teachers probably want you to take, but there is a divide between most doctors and students on the issue. Some advocate the widespread use of amphetamines since the world could easily do with more clear-thinking individuals; others point out the temporary fix that these drugs bring, as well as the health concerns over extended use.
If used as prescribed, amphetamines may increase a student’s ability to focus for extended periods, leading to increased academic performance. However, some students resort to abusing these stimulants, ingesting high doses for last minute cramming, a method not recommended by most physicians. Take a few more than recommended, and you can cram enough to just remember what you need for an exam the night before. However, cramming doesn’t help you retain information in the long run. Not to sound like a prescription medication ad, but amphetamines aren’t a cure.
Using stimulants as a crutch will slowly weaken your natural ability to do without it, and as with many drugs, there are withdrawal syndromes, side effects, and health concerns. This is where the cost of taking heavy stimulants will catch up with you: tolerance. Over time it will take increased doses to get the same effects, which will only increase the chances of abuse and overdose.
This is what students have come to, using alternatives to eating, sleeping, and studying to get the highest grades possible. It’s not difficult to see why many consider stimulants performance enhancers, and why there is an growing underground market for students. Some might say it’s an unfair advantage equal to athletes using PED’s.
Inevitably, the use of amphetamines is a personal decision. In an academic setting, it can create an unfair advantage. In the end, if you’re not affecting or infringing on anyone else’s freedom, what right does society have interfere with what you put in your body?
David Haydon is a Political Science junior and may be reached at [email protected].