substance abuseMost of us are sympathetic to the pressures of college. While incoming college freshmen may focus on school as their first “on-their-own” life experience, as students progress through college and approach graduation the reality of adulthood becomes a looming presence. That can mean an increasing pressure to perform well academically.

As the perceived pressure to earn good grades increases, students sometimes look for ways to gain a competitive edge. According to a meta-study conducted through the University of South Carolina more than one-sixth of college kids are turning to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stimulant medications to find that edge. Students are abusing drugs like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta in hopes of improving study times, test-taking and overall academic performance.

The problem of stimulant substance abuse is a growing concern since more and more children are being diagnosed and prescribed treatment with these medications. This means that there are more entering college freshmen every year taking the drugs. Patients with an ADHD prescription are a popular source of supply for those engaged in illicit substance abuse.

Researchers chose 30 previous studies on the subject for their meta-analysis. Investigation showed that those most likely to be involved with stimulant substance abuse were white male upperclassmen with fraternity membership. Although these young men took the drugs to boost their scholastic prowess, the research showed that non-users actually perform better academically.

If you suspect your college student may be struggling with substance abuse, don’t look the other way hoping that it will end on graduation day. Instead, call and talk to one of our mental health professionals at Family Guidance. We can help guide you in approaching your child and provide step by step counsel in changing a dangerous pattern.