Study: Adderall use more common than Ritalin

By Samantha Egan

College students who claimed using prescription stimulants illicitly last year were three times more likely to chose amphetamine-dextroamphetamine products like Adderall over methylphenidate products like Ritalin as a way of increasing academic productivity, according to a recent Northeastern study.

The study, “Illicit Use of Specific Prescription Stimulants Among College Students: Prevalence, Motives and Routes of Administration,” was based on an online survey of 4,580 undergraduate students at a large, midwestern university.

Students were asked what types of drugs they used, why, and how they administered the pills. Less than one-third of the students surveyed said they used stimulants to get high or to experiment.

The survey reported several possible explanations for the popularity of Adderall, noting that the drug’s effects last 10 to 12 hours, compared to Ritalin, with effects that last no longer than six hours. The availability of Adderall may also be a factor, as it is the most commonly prescribed brand-name stimulant in the country.

The study also found that while not one African-American student reported getting high as a motive for using the drugs, nearly 30 percent of Caucasians and nearly 20 percent of Asians, Hispanics and others did.

Graduate student Emily Brown said she credits the rise in popularity of Adderall on campus to a spike in visits to the doctor’s office.

“From the little experience I’ve had, people are more able to get Adderall since more doctors are prescribing it,” said Brown, a student in the College of Criminal Justice.

Fifth-year physical therapy major Matthieu Newton said students he knows only used the drug to study for major assignments like midterms, finals and practical, rather than for long-term use.

“It definitely is effective,” Newton said. “Everyone loves it, they swear by it.”

As far as Adderall’s popularity over Ritalin, Newton said: “Honestly, most of the students I know don’t choose either, but the ones I know who do [choose], use Ritalin.”

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Christian Teter, who reported on the study, said the use of Adderall may pose an increased risk to the cardiovascular system compared to Ritalin, but that it is “yet to be determined.”

The study, Teter said, did not heavily focus on how universities could combat the problem of substance abuse on campus. Stimulant drugs, he said, are harder to address than other drugs.

“Stimulants are so available

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