One direct message, swipe up or snapchat, all it takes to get access to hard and prescription drugs such as Adderall, Oxycodone or Ritalin.
Illicit accessibility to substances has proven to establish a direct and impactful relationship with substance abuse for high school students.
According to Addiction Center, stimulant misuse is most common in high school and college students. This is due to an increase of emphasis on high performance in educational settings and stress regarding future. Stimulant prescription misuse is, as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, taking medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed, taking someone else’s medicine or taking medicine only for the effect it causes.
Adderall, the most commonly prescribed amphetamine, is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is used most commonly to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The product is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. As reported by Desert Cove Recovery, over ⅔ of unprescribed students obtain Adderall from family, friends or roommates who have access to the drug.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, other common prescription stimulants are dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).
Though response to the medication and dosage is highly individualized, Adderall and desoxyn are commonly accepted as the “strongest” legal stimulants.
Some children are diagnosed with attention disorders and prescribed medication as young as five years old and stay on the drug through adulthood. Many teens are later diagnosed in high school and college, while dealing with the transition to a higher stress learning environment.
Ease of access and exposure to these substances has only been normalized by social media platforms. An attitude of acceptance and informality generally associated with social media has altered the attitudes surrounding substance misuse.
Users and sellers frequently update and promote availability through story features, allowing access to friends and those who view the story. Viewers can simply “swipe up” on the specific story, gaining access to the drug after coordinating pickup and pricing. Within a platform where drug use is always in reach, normalization is inevitable.
A student who chose to remain anonymous said, “Everyone posts it (drug use) on their stories, and it is something that I see everyday. It’s just become normal.”
Many stimulants are misused by students with the motive of improving efficiency, focus and energy. In using unprescribed stimulants in a school setting, individuals sustain ineffective coping mechanisms in high stress situations.
Social media encourages students to turn to alternative methods that may seem acceptable to misuse on a regular basis.
“Because we have access to social media and can contact people at all times, it is easier to get and take the drugs regularly,” the student who wished to stay anonymous said.
This will be Emily Stisser’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.