Banner that says "I Pledge to Be Drug Free"

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You are startled awake as your head hits your textbook. Finals are coming up and you have basically been living at the library for the past week. This is your last chance to save your grades and it is so overwhelming. Your eyes flutter each time you attempt to focus on the text. You need sleep, but you don’t have the time. Studying is the top priority.

A friend scored someone’s prescription medication and he has aced all of his exams so far and doesn’t feel like a zombie after taking them, maybe you could try it too. It can’t hurt, right? Just once to make it through finals week would not hurt. It is only once.

Many students fall into the temptation and pressure of taking drastic measures to prepare for finals week. Prescription psychoactive medications – such as Adderall – act primarily on the central nervous system where they alter brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behavior.

This type of drug is rising in popularity among students and young adults, aged 18 to 25, to aid in concentration. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this abuse of prescription psychoactive medications among students is on the rise due to increased academic pressures. Consequently, those students who rely on these drugs will become dependent on them to succeed. Abuse of prescription drugs in this manner is second only to marijuana use and is incredibly dangerous.

While students who choose to self-medicate with these drugs focus on the supposed benefits of increased concentration and lowered stress level, they neglect to consider the serious negative side effects. Since the students abusing these drugs do not actually need them, you never know how their body will react.

According to the American Addiction Center, common symptoms of Adderall misuse include: sleep difficulties (falling asleep or staying asleep), headaches, shaking uncontrollably in an area of the body, feeling faint, dizziness, changes in vision and seizures. Not to mention, it is illegal to possess prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you by a doctor. Even worse, some of these medications are quite addictive; therefore, it becomes increasingly more difficult to study without the use of these prescription drugs, despite the serious risk. The best way to address this rising trend is to raise awareness of the severity of drug abuse. Regardless of the alleged benefits, the serious consequences are not worth it.

A few healthy ways to increase your concentration while studying include: snacking on light, healthy foods, removing distractions (including irrelevant electronics, people, and excessive noise), giving yourself checkpoints to accomplish with short breaks in between as a reward and last but most importantly, getting plenty of sleep. You will not retain the information if your brain is tired, so an all-nighter is actually detrimental to your studying.

With this information in mind, stay safe and best of luck on your upcoming finals!

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