The University Park Health Center plans to crack down on the recreational use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications around campus, but students say the new policies won’t stop them from accessing and using drugs like Adderall.
Effective May 1, the UPHC will institute policies that require a more thorough medical and mental examination of students seeking ADHD medication.
The policies are aimed at streamlining the process of prescribing these medications and preventing their use for non-medical purposes. Some students use ADHD medications to increase their focus as they prepare for tests or other difficult assignments.
“If students are seeking medications, they have to follow certain protocol,” said Dr. Ilene Rosenstein, director of student counseling services at the UPHC. “It’s really tightening up who gets the medication.”
Students who seek a prescription for ADHD medications, including Adderall, will need to have written documentation of their medical need from someone who has diagnosed the student. Students who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD or a similar condition will need to go to the counseling center, which now has an extensive process for determining need.
Rosenstein said the purpose of the new policies is to properly diagnose students because some who come to the health center don’t actually need medication and some who need medication aren’t always diagnosed correctly.
The UPHC is also concerned with the illegal use of ADHD medication, particularly Adderall, by students who believe the drug will help them enhance their performance in school.
“We don’t want to be giving out drugs to people who don’t have the need,” Rosenstein said.
Although there is no way of tracking illegal use of Adderall on campus, Rosenstein said more thorough examinations by the UPHC and the counseling center might decrease illegal use of the drug.
“We’re doing thorough assessments — we may even call family, ADHD is not something that [just] occurs later on in life,” she said.
Students, however, believe the illegal Adderall use on campus will continue despite any changes at the UPHC.
Albert Sung, a sophomore majoring in biology, said he has noticed many students receive their Adderall from off-campus sources to circumvent UPHC policies.
“People are too afraid to try and go to the health center for Adderall, since it’s definitely an illegal use,” said Sung, who noted he doesn’t use Adderall. “It’s just easier to get it from other places, so these new policies won’t really affect the supply of under-the-table Adderall at USC.”
A student who wished to remain anonymous said he gains access to Adderall through those who actually have a legitimate need for ADHD medication. He said that at his fraternity, many students who have ADHD give their medication to other members who need help studying.
“Since most people who give out Adderall are the ones who actually have ADHD, I don’t see how this [policy] will help,” he said. “Students who need it will get it. The school can’t control what people do once they’re diagnosed and have filled out a prescription.”