Dangerous drug lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that dozens of colleges throughout the country are tightening the rules on A.D.H.D. diagnoses and treatments in effort to curb illegal use of the drugs. Some are re-considering whether or not their student health offices should handle A.D.H.D. treatments at all.
The use and abuse of amphetamine-based medications on college campuses is nothing new – various studies have estimated that approximately 35% of American college students illegally take these drugs, which include Adderall, Vyvance, and Ritalin. Most of these students are unaware that their habit is a federal crime, and have serious side effects like anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
The University of Alabama, Marist College, and California State University, among others, now require students to sign contracts stating they will not misuse or doll out the pills to other classmates. Other schools are forbidding college clinicians to diagnose A.D.H.D. at all, which also prohibits them from prescribing those medications. Students at Marquette University are required to sign releases allowing clinicians to call their parents for medical histories and confirmation of the validity of their symptoms.
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One California State University, Fresno student endured two months of testing and paperwork before she was approved for a prescription. She notes that the process deterred some of her classmates from using the university’s health office to get an A.D.H.D. medication. Fresno State tightened its regulations after an alarming number of students were requesting an A.D.H.D. diagnosis, which prompted numerous media reports of stimulant abuse and questionable diagnostic processes.
These measures, however, have both legal and ethical implications. The new college policies, for example, are only applying to A.D.H.D. medications, not painkillers or other drugs with high rates of abuse. The chief executive of Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder stated that, if a school is concerned that its students are abusing stimulants, the last thing it should do is outsource diagnoses to unknown community clinics. Stimulant abuse is indeed a serious problem, one that cannot be handed off to someone else off campus.
Many students will simply continue to bring their prescriptions on campus from practitioners back home, where they can be used as motivators to get work done or to make quick cash. The Fresno State student says she was even offered up to $150 dollars per pill during finals week her junior year.
In 2011, Duke University amended its academic dishonesty policy to include any unauthorized use of prescriptions to enhance academic performance, which essentially means that any student caught taking a stimulant they aren’t prescribed to would be subject to disciplinary action for cheating.
One year earlier, a student at Vanderbilt University committed suicide one year after being prescribed to Adderall. Throughout that year, the student, who his parents called strong and in-charge, became increasingly paranoid, ultimately stepping in front of a train.
Adderall helped him stay up at night to study and perform well the next day. He would mix it with alcohol while partying, and, because of confidentiality laws, his parents never knew about his bogus Adderall prescription.
According to the CDC, Adderall sales have risen more than 30-fold since 2001. Between 2000 and 2005, the FDA reported nearly 1,000 cases of psychosis or mania associated with Adderall use. Misuse of the drug can physically alter the brain, changing its functioning to boost anxiety, depress moods, and cause emotions and aggressions to become overactive.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured by Adderall, Vyvance, Ritalin, or any other A.D.H.D. medication, you may be entitled to significant compensation, and should contact a skilled drug attorney.