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Senator Asks New York Colleges to Tighten Control on “Study Drugs”

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U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is asking colleges in his state to tighten restrictions on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs used by students to increase their focus, known as “study drugs.”

His proposed rules would make it more difficult for students to obtain drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin for nonmedical purposes, CBSNewYork/AP reports.

“This is a matter of student health, safety, and academic integrity, and we need to look at all the options when it comes to keeping potentially addictive stimulants out of the hands of our students who don’t really need them,” Schumer said in a news release.

“When used properly to treat a legitimately diagnosed attention disorder, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin can help students focus and learn, but all too often these cases are the minority on college campuses,” he said. “Plain and simple: using Adderall as a study drug is academic doping.”

Dozens of colleges around the country are instituting stricter rules for diagnosing and medicating ADHD. The rules are a reaction to the growing overuse of these medications. One study at a large university found 34 percent of students had used a prescription stimulant drug to help them focus when they felt academic stress.

Prescription stimulants can cause a variety of health problems if they are misused, including an irregular heartbeat and panic attacks. They can be deadly in rare cases if they are mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Schumer proposed a number of policy changes to reduce the abuse of ADHD medication. He would require formal contracts and follow-up diagnostics for students diagnosed with ADHD at a campus health clinic. For students diagnosed outside of a campus health clinic who want to refill a prescription, he proposes requiring mental health evaluations with a qualified health practitioner to verify the diagnosis, as well as verification by a parent or guardian.

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