Easy access to Adderall escalates abuse

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Published 2011-10-03T22:37:00Z”/>


Jenna Valdespino

The professor passes out the exam, and everyone begins to work. You look around anxiously. Every backpack zip and pencil sharpening is a distraction. There is no way you can concentrate on this exam. Every sniffle, every shift of a chair against the floor, every rustle of paper is magnified and amplified. This is just a glimpse into a day of a student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

While the Accessibility Resource Center on campus provides accommodations for students diagnosed with ADHD, the possibility of abuse of these resources may be a sign of the times.

With prescription drugs such as Adderall nearly as common as Aspirin on college campuses, students may have discovered other ways to take advantage of services meant for those with more

severe symptoms.

At Chico State, common accommodations for those registered with the disorder include the issuing of note-takers in class and priority registration, making this appealing to students looking to get ahead in the current times of budget cuts and fewer available classes.

There is often talk of students registering with ARC solely to reap the benefits, said Jocelyn Fiset, a junior communications major.

“It seems like everybody says they have ADD these days, and now everyone’s starting to find out that they can get priority registration if they have it,” Fiset said. “I’ve definitely heard of more and more people doing it.”

Among the 1,532 students served at the ARC in the 2010-2011 school year, 22 percent were registered with ADHD, according to the center’s annual report. The report currently lists ADHD in its “Other” category but will begin listing the disorder on its own beginning next year.

Lauri Evans, Americans with Disabilities Act education coordinator on campus, recognizes the possible reasoning behind abuse of ARC resources, she said.

It can be difficult for students to get in to the classes they need, and many are being put on waitlists, Evans said.

Gabe Sandler a junior psychology major was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the third grade and has since been retested, again confirming his disorder. He has been registered with the ARC since he was accepted to Chico State, he said.

“Pretty much everyone I know has ADD,” Sandler said. “It’s very easy to

get diagnosed.”

Sandler’s diagnosis process included a

questioning period in which he was told to complete “simple psychology tests” involving blocks, comparisons and pictures, he said.

A recent verification of a diagnosis given by a professional must be provided when registering with the ARC, according to the center’s documentation guidelines.

“Registering was easy, because I had documentation from the state,” Sandler said. “I just basically showed them my paperwork and it was

a snap.”

While Evans disagrees with the idea that receiving a prescription or diagnosis is easy, it has become difficult to ignore the large number of students that have both, she said.

Although the ARC does not diagnose students with the disorder, Evans walked through the process with her child.

“The funny thing about getting a diagnosis of ADHD is that they get to a diagnosis in different ways,” she said. “There’s not any one yes or no, black or white answer.”

With this sort of varying diagnosis process, lines can often blur between those with severe symptoms and those that simply feel nervous about tests.

While ARC attempts to make accommodations, such as priority registration, readily available to those that may need it based on things such as medication schedules, abusers are bound to slip through the cracks. Evans sees the recent waitlists and budget cuts as a cause,

she said.

“Is there potential for people to register with ARC just to use priority registration? Sure, that’s a potential,” she said. “The potential of it happening, because of all these factors, is greater.”

The possibility of resource misuse may also affect those who truly need them in the same way the misuse of Adderall does, Evans said.

“I think it disadvantages them in that they’re stigmatized,” Evans said. “I know that Adderall is vastly abused, so they are affected by that, because they are presumed to be one of the abusers.”

There is no doubt that priority registration is seen as a perk to those who receive it based on ADHD, including Sandler.

“That’s the sickest thing about it,” he said. “I get to register before everyone else and get all my classes.”

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<strong>Jenna Valdespino can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>


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