A. Attention Getter: “I reached into my backpack, grabbed an Adderall, and went to the bathroom. I smashed it on the bathroom sink and snorted it. I went back to my class and zipped through the rest of my exam, and it made all the difference.” This student incident was found in a 2005 article published by Baylor University on the alarming use of “study drugs.”
B. Thesis: Many of you may be unfamiliar with such a topic, so today I will cover the mysterious world of study drugs and the hidden dangers associated with them.
C. Significance to Audience: Most of us are here because we all want to transfer to the best school as possible. And we will do whatever it takes. But drugs? Some of you might be tempted, and I’m here to present the facts of both the positive and negatives of such behavior.
D. Overview: I will now proceed to define what a study drug is, the various types, why people use them, and what the dangers are.
A. Main Point: First off, I’d like to define what exactly a study drug is.
1. Sub Point: Duke University’s pharmacology professor Cynthia Kuhn describes study drugs as informally termed- medical grade stimulants that affect the brain’s “reward center” (Kuhn, 136).
Sub-Sub point: Specifically, the 2008 edition of Prescription Drug Addiction by Rod Calvin, defines these compounds as “drugs that stimulate the central nervous system, increase mental alertness [and] decrease fatigue…” (Colvin, 13). i. Sub3 point: In other words, they chemically affect the brain and increase its ability to focus beyond its normal capabilities.
Transition: So, we just reviewed a simplified definition of what a study drug is, and I will now cover what types there are.
B. Main Point: There are 2 main types of study drugs that I will cover today, amphetamine grade and methylphenidate.
1. Sub Point: Amphetamine is the first type and most common, and it is the chemical compound found in the prescription medication “Adderall” a. Sub-Sub point: Adderall is typically prescribed to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short. i. Sub3 point: But unlike the calming effects the medication produces in people with this disorder, individuals without ADHD will experience higher energy, extreme confidence boost and be able to hyper focus, as stated in Rod Calvin’s book Prescription Drug Addiction.
2. Sub Point: Methylphenidate is the next type of drug, marketed under the name Ritalin. a. Sub-Sub point: It is similar to Adderall in various as to how it effects the brain, for it is also a stimulant compound that affects the motor activity of the central nervous system.
Transition: So those are the most common types of study drugs, and now to explore why non ADHD people would take.
C. Main Point: Simply to put it, people take them to improve focus, energy & gain an extreme edge against their academic competition.
I remember during midterm’s week 2 students in one of my class’s talk about their study drug-fueled cramming sessions. “When was the last time you slept?” “Two days ago…” “And you’ve been up all this time studying?” “Yeah.”
1. Sub Point: Baylor University does a nice job of summing up student motives of such drastic behavior in its 2005 article “Study Drugs Still Popular despite Health Risks”. a. Sub-Sub point:
According to the article, students use such drugs “to retain energy for rigorous study periods over several hours, sometimes extending overnight.” i. Sub3 point: Simply, students take these pills to combat their own procrastination and gain an extra edge over those who are too tired or too distracted to study or put there work in. ii. Sub3 point: Schools that are highly competitive and cutthroat have rampant rates of study drug use because students feel the pressure to maintain high academic standing no matter what the cost.
2. Sub Point: Even here at PCC there is the tempting nature of study drugs. a. Sub-Sub point: To put things into perspective, recent studies published in Professor Kuhn’s Buzzed article, indicate that “15% of college students have used prescription stimulants as study aides…” (Kuhn, 227).
Transition: So I just covered why student resort to such measures, but I must also inform you of the not so pleasant side effects.
D. Main Point: To begin with, a drug is a drug, and it has the potential to be harmful and addictive.
1. Sub Point: Various studies prove that stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidates can cause physical problems. a. Sub-Sub point: Rod Colin of Prescription Drug Addiction writes that high doses of stimulants can cause irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure, which typically result in heart failure or stroke (Colvin, 14). i. Sub3 point: Furthermore, those who take stimulants without prescriptions usually do not know much about dosages, so they mistakenly take more than they are supposed to.
2. Sub Point: Also, withdrawal symptoms have been noted in individuals who no longer get the stimulation they are used to. a. Sub-Sub point: Rod Colin also states that “depression, fatigue, loss of interest in life, loss of appetite, suicidal thoughts, and delusions are part of stimulant withdrawal” (Colvin, 14).
Transition: All Sounds fun right? Plainly put, there are ill side effects to taking drugs, not that this should come as a sharp surprise to anybody.
A. Summary of main point: In review, we learned what study drugs are, the types there are, and the pros and cons behind them. They may help you cram for that test you didn’t study for because you spent too much time on Facebook, but they also pose a great risk to your health and could have the potential cause you a legal problem.
B. Final Thought: Just like cocaine, crack, and meth, study drugs like Ritalin and Adderall can be addictive, as stated by Duke University’s pharmacology Professor Cynthia Kuhn. So they can make you smarter, but they can also kill.
- Blackmon, Tiffanie. “Study Drugs Still Popular despite Health Risks.” The Lariat Online. 14 Oct. 2005. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.
- Colvin, Rod. Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction: A Guide to Coping and Understanding. 3rd ed. Omaha: Addicus, 2008. Print.
- Kuhn, Cynthia, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson. Buzzed: the Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy. 3rd ed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2008. Print.
- Kuhn, Cynthia, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson. Just Say Know: Talking with Kids about Drugs and Alcohol. New York: W.W. Norton&, 2002. Print.