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Adderall: A Prescription for Cheating?

On Thursday, May 2nd, The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics and the DePauw Debate Society will discuss the ethical implications of pharmaceutical drugs used to enhance academic performance. The most common being stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, which are commonly prescribed to treat attention disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

This debate is not a new one, with reported usage on the rise; many institutions are raising questions about these drugs concerning academic integrity. Are these stimulants a prescription for cheating? What if you are legally prescribed the medication? The contingencies of this debate can seem endless.
This panel will discuss a multitude of these topics and perspectives. Personally, I hope to learn how universities approach policies regarding study drugs, and what the drug’s implications on physical or mental health may be. Adderall is listed as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency under the Controlled Substance Act because of its high potential for abuse and addiction. Is great concern for the drug centered by its legal implications, or are we mostly concerned about its ability to enhance cognition—boosting academic performance unfairly? What is misuse versus abuse?

Are we dealing with an academic steroid that can be considered as fraudulent as looking over your friends shoulder for a test, copying a paper, or turning in another’s work? Should educational institutions regulate these drugs? Do institutions have the right to drug test their students or employees for these pharmaceuticals? Join our discussion on Thursday and decide for yourself what constitutes as cheating and if Adderall really is a prescription for it.