10 percent of teens use 'study drugs'
Many American teens believe that "study drugs" – ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin – can give them an academic advantage and improve test scores. In fact, a University of Michigan study found that an estimated 10 percent of high school students are engaging in this type of drug use without a prescription, and that many parents are unaware of it. While one in 10 students is using these types of drugs for study purposes, parents think that the figure is much lower – more like one student in 100.
Stimulants are often prescribed to children with ADHD to improve cognitive performance and allow the student to concentrate better. However, these drugs can be harmful to students who do not need them, as they can have serious side effects, including heart problems and even psychosis, not to mention potential withdrawal symptoms. Emergency room visits involving ADHD medications increased by more than 100 percent between 2005 and 2010.
While 54 percent of the parents in the study said they were "very concerned" about this type of drug use in schools, only 27 percent of them said they have talked to their children about prescription drug abuse.