What Are Study Drugs?

Study drugs are prescription stimulants that engage the central nervous system (CNS), causing increased alertness and brain function. Most prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, are formulated to counteract the negative effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, up to 20% of college students abuse study drugs, causing major concern among parents and healthcare professionals.

Common study drugs include:

Why Students Use Study Drugs

Academic pressure to succeed is the most common reason students give for abusing stimulants. Designed to help with focus, prescription stimulants can play a part in a student’s ability to continue working or studying for long hours. Many students abuse these drugs to help boost their concentration, a dangerous habit that has many negative effects.

1 in 4 high school students reports misusing a prescription study drug during the last 12 months.

Other reasons people may misuse study drugs include:

  • To feel more energetic
  • To increase their focus
  • To help them lose weight (as stimulants act as appetite suppressants)

Side Effects Of Study Drugs

Many students don’t fully realize the negative side effects that stimulants can cause. In one study, the majority of college students said they believed illicit use of study drugs was “not dangerous at all” or “slightly dangerous.”

Contrary to popular opinion, there are unpleasant and potentially dangerous effects of stimulant use. These can include:

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Mixing Study Drugs And Alcohol

A big concern is not just that students are abusing substances like Adderall; students are also abusing multiple substances that may have dangerous interactions.

Mixing stimulants with alcohol can leave the user unaware of when they’ve reached their limit. This can result in injury and assault. The biggest physical concern over the mixing of stimulants with the depressant alcohol is the ensuing strain place upon the user’s heart; this can lead to long-term cardiovascular damage, heart attack, and death.

Students who took prescription study aids recreationally were more than three times more likely to have consumed alcohol in the previous 14 days than those who took no medication.

According to one report, a full third of student users said they take prescription stimulants to “stay awake to party.” This habit can lead to dangerous disruptions in sleep patterns, contributing to mental fatigue and brain fog, which impacts overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Statistics Of Study Drug Abuse In College

  • Misuse of prescription study drugs is greater than misuse of other prescription drugs, including opioids, in the teen and young adult population.
  • Approximately one-third of college students have used stimulants non-medically.
  • Full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were twice as likely as their counterparts who were not full-time college students to have used Adderall non-medically in the past year.
  • Nearly 90% of full-time college students who used Adderall non-medically in the past year had also participated in binge drinking in the past month; more than half were heavy alcohol users.
  • Full-time college students who used Adderall non-medically were three times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment For Stimulant Addiction


Get Help For An Addiction To Study Drugs

Although some students abuse stimulants for a time and then discontinue use, many have developed a cycle of addiction that follows them into adulthood.

If you or someone you know can’t imagine a life without the dangerous use of study drugs, get the help you need to break free today. Contact a treatment provider for information about finding treatment.