A 17-year-old girl from Austin, Texas said that she started taking her younger brother's Focalin prescription to get caught up after she missed a week of school:
"The benefits were amazing. I had been sick a week before, and in one night, I caught up on several physics and calculus assignments and knocked-out the first act of Hamlet. But the productivity was just one of three
perks that came from that little 20mg pill: I was able to stay up until 3am, then get up again at 6am feeling
completely rested, more so than if I had slept ten hours."
"Young adults today feel like they need straight-A's, a good internship, a jam-packed social life and more or
we're failures. We're worried about our future . . . We know we're going into an abysmal job market and
need any edge we can get, and no effort feels like its enough. You have to pick two: sleep, social life or
grades. Stimulants like Adderall give you a much needed boost when your in such a high-stress, exhausting
Is this the type of message schools are sending to children? The competitive nature of post-secondary schooling seems to have created an every-person-for-themselves mentality that has young adults grasping at whatever tools will give them the extra edge they need to get ahead. Some of the students end up addicted to the pills, claiming that the effects of not taking them daily has left them unable to function. One boy from New York City was fortunate to have kicked the habit after being accepted to college:
"The last time I used it in high school was around the end of my first semester of senior year. I was admitted
to college at that point and high school seemed less stressful to me, and thus the reliance on drugs for good
Although standardized testing in Canada has not been awarded the same level of value as it has in the US, some provinces have begun taking more stock in their results than others. The pressure to perform on these exams can increase levels of stress in both students and teachers. However, stress can come from many areas of our lives. It is important that educators equip students with healthy coping strategies to deal with the added stress that getting older seems to bring along with it, so that they don't begin misusing or abusing drugs to deal.
What are some ways that you deal with the stresses in your life? Mine is making lists to keep organized and to help put things into perspective. Post your advice below!