Ritalin and Adderall: A Helpful Analysis
In an excellent article on The Best Schools blog, chemist Heather Zeiger writes of how Ritalin and Adderall, medications for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are widely prescribed for non-ADHD college students who wish to stay up all night and/or improve their academic performance.
But, wait! These drugs, which brought in $7.42 billion in 2010 alone, can have serious long-term side effects like stunted growth, anxiety, heart problems and high blood pressure. So, why would someone who does not need the drug use it? And why would a physician prescribe them to students who do not have ADHD? And come to think of it, why do we have a shortage of the generic forms, but not the higher priced forms, of these drugs?
We need integrity (wholeness) in science. Students need to honestly do their work and put in the time and effort to learn instead of memorize. Physicians need to only prescribe what the patient needs, not what they want. And pharmaceutical companies need to focus a little less on their profit margin and a little more on the benefit of their consumers.