Analysis: illegal sharing of 'study drugs' common at the U of M


Almost 1,600 students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus may have illegally shared their prescription Adderall with friends last year, according to a recent analysis by  MinnPost.

It’s illegal for friends to give or accept Adderall – one of several amphetamines commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD – because ADHD drugs are highly addictive.

They are classified by the DEA in the same category as cocaine.

The National Institutes of Health strongly cautions people not to "sell, give away, or let anyone else take your medication.”

But nationally, approximately 62 percent of college students with ADHD report giving away their prescription drugs.

And more than half of nonmedical users ages 12 or older report receiving prescription drugs from their friends for free.

There's been a lot of discussion and debate among medical experts about whether drugs for ADHD are overprescribed.

As the use of stimulants for ADHD has skyrocketed over the last several decades, so has the recreational use and abuse of the drugs. Particularly by young adults, who take the drugs to be more productive in school.

CNN reports many young people don’t understand the risks of using ADHD drugs without a prescription.

"Our biggest concern ... is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade," says Sean McCabe, from the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.

The medications can cause a host of serious side effects, including fast heartbeat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, vision changes and seizures. There have been deaths and suicides related to the drugs.

Nonetheless, stories of students stealing, sharing and snorting ADHD drugs to help their school performance have become commonplace.

Here’s one from a student who has taken ADHD drugs from the New York Times:

“…the immense pressure put on students by parents and educators has made taking speed a socially acceptable thing.... I'm sick of the expectation of a “perfect” kid.”

Detailed data of ADHD drug abuse in Minnesota is limited, but The Minnesota Medical Association estimates the state mirrors the national trend:

–47 percent reported amphetamines, 21 percent reported tranquilizers, and 36 percent reported narcotics other than heroin as “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get.

Next Up

Michael Pineda

Twins' trade targets raise their value in win over Tigers

Michael Pineda pitched well but Taylor Rogers left the game with an injury.

Flickr - state capitol minneosta - Ken Lund

Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol grounds

She drove on the sidewalk and lawn, and at one point waved a large "Trump 2020" flag out the window.

training camp

10 things fans should know before going to Vikings training camp

Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged for the unvaccinated.


Cases of COVID-19 linked to Provincetown outbreak found in Minnesota

There have been more than 550 cases linked to the Massachusetts tourist destination since the 4th of July weekend.

Aaron Rodgers

Reports: Aaron Rodgers set for at least one more year with the Packers

Both sides showing signs of optimism just before training camp begins.

Twitter - KARE 11 jeopardy screengrab

KARE 11 crew teases upcoming 'Jeopardy!' cameo

Some familiar local faces will be providing contestants with "Minneapolis News" clues.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 1.41.24 PM

Second victim of deadly crash in Orono is identified

The crash also was fatal for the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

Witzmann and Coleman

Ex-Viking and ex-Gopher could be contestants for Edina's 'Bachelorette'

Michelle Young, a teacher from Edina, is the show's Season 18 star.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff

Those who decline will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on campus.