College students abusing prescription stimulants to improve their performance on exams — dubbed “good grade pills” — has been getting increased attention, but is it a form of cheating? About one-third of students surveyed at one Ivy League college say it’s not, according to a study slated to be presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver.
Even more disturbing: Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League college (that the researchers declined to identify) reported misusing a prescription stimulant — like Ritalin or Adderall used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — while studying or finishing a paper.
The findings were based on a survey of 616 sophomores, juniors, and seniors without ADHD who completed an anonymous online questionnaire in December 2012.
Senior investigator Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, said in a statement that colleges need to think of stimulant abuse as a problem on par with alcohol abuse and recreational drug use. “Because many students are misusing prescription stimulants for academic, not recreational purposes,” he said, “colleges must develop specific programs to address this issue.”
He and his colleagues also found:
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week