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Jun 25, 2013 09:03 AM EDT

Sen. Schumer Wants Better Control Over Use of 'Study Drugs' By Students

Adderall
(Photo : Flickr) Adderall

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged the administrators at the State University of New York (SUNY), City University of New York systems (CUNY) and other private colleges to introduce tough policies that restrict students from acquiring Attention Deficit Disorder pills like Adderall and Ritalin, without a prescription.

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"There are better ways to pull an all-nighter and stay up. There's coffee, there's things like NoDoz," Schumer said.

Some of the policies proposed by Schumer to colleges include fixing the number of pills that can be prescribed to a student at one time. A student must either suffer from ADD or ADHD to purchase the drugs.

They should also participate in bringing awareness about excess use of such pills, which is also referred to as 'study drugs.'

According to Schumer, approximately 64,000 students pop Adderall or a similar drug in New York City alone.

"If you're using Adderall for any reason other than for attention deficit disorder, you're basically using speed," Dr. Samuel Altstein of Beth Israel Medical Group said.

Altstein warns students about negative effects of such pills. The long-term abuse of these drugs can lead to depression, anxiety, psychosis and heart failure.

"It's vastly overprescribed, overused and misused by a lot of people," Alstein said, who deals with patients looking to get hold of Adderall.

This is not the first revelation on study drugs.

A study conducted by University of Rhode Island in 2009 found that 60 percent of students knew about classmates who consumed study drugs. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service assessed that 5 percent of people aged between 18 and 25 had taken psycho-therapeutic drugs like Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription.

"Three out of five students that are at poly are maybe using Adderall. Students in all disciplines: Engineering, digital media, finance they say they use it to study. It's a shortcut and there really are no shortcuts," said one NYU junior.

"The market for it basically turns huge during finals and midterms. Other than that I guess people use it recreationally at parties sometimes it can be crushed up and snorted," said another college student.

"I had to study for midterms and I was just behind on work and I took it and I studied from eight in the morning until 10 at night," said one NYU sophomore who took Adderall twice.

For the moment, the senator is not presenting any legislation. He is just urging all the colleges to adopt these policies. The policies in question have already been implemented at other states.

For example: California State University-Fresno students will have to undertake an ADD or ADHD examination to obtain the drug. Then, they must sign a bond promising not to share pills and to attend regular meetings with a mental health professional.

"We've definitely seen a difference," said Catherine Felix, CSU-Fresno student health director. "Only the serious ones come here."

Some have expressed discontent over Schumer's attempt to fight study drugs.

"When it comes to obtaining drugs like Adderall and Ritali, where there's a will, there's a way -- one person's prescription can equal 10 others' use n," John Surico at the Village Voice said.

"Telling students that they should rely on caffeine and other over the counter stimulants hardly seems like the answer," Madeleine Davies at Jezebel said.

Davies said that instead Schumer must concentrate on 'why they're pulling all-nighters in the first place.'

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