Staff Editorial: Adderall offers questionable benefits, definite risks

We've all been there. It's crunch time in the semester. You're staring down two tests, two papers and a presentation, all in a week. You don't know how you possibly will be able to get it all done. So why not pop an Adderall? Stay up all night, keep up your concentration, and get it all done?

Well, it's worth thinking twice about.

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. The potential side effects are numerous. Use of the drug can lead to depression, weight loss, headaches, moodiness, nausea, involuntary tics and liver problems, among many others.

In fact, 20 known sudden deaths and 12 known strokes in patients taking Adderall XR, the extended-release form of the drug, were enough to cause Canada to ban the drug for six months in 2005.

Simply put, the risks one takes when using Adderall and other drugs like Ritalin to enhance their academic performance are numerous, and far outweigh the potential benefits one may or may not see in improved grades. Additionally, the potential for dependence on the drug is very high: Once you start popping an Adderall (or two, or three) when you need to study, it's certainly not easy to stop. At what point do one's grades start to depend entirely on a chemical substance?

There's no question that college can be a stressful time, and as academics continue to grow more challenging at Geneseo, the problem is only exacerbated. Some people take the drug on a regular basis with little to no problem, but for many, that's not the case, and they pay the price of terrible side effects. Are potentially better grades worth taking that risk? The answer is an unequivocal no.