The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Addium, the new cup of coffee?

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

The nonmedical use of prescription drugs for cognitive performance is not a secret on campus, except for the new legal alternatives, which could possibly be a healthier solution.

When starting college, it did not take me long to understand that a lot of students turned to amphetamine-based prescription drugs during exam time, such as Adderall. A national health assessment made by the American College Health Association during Spring 2014 shows that as much as 8.3 percent of all students had used stimulants that were not prescribed to them. This indicates that Santa Barbara City College is not alone in this dilemma.

These drugs have become so common and accepted among students that many have started to ignore the issue or just not acknowledge it. Being a schedule one controlled substance, these prescriptions have potential side effects and a high risk for abuse. According to the health assessment by ACHA, one percent of all students were diagnosed with or treated for substance abuse or addiction, a relatively high number on a national scale.

The medications that actually are meant for people diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention-Deficit Disorder are being used like a daily cup of coffee by a lot of people who do not have either.

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During exam periods there is a high demand for these study pills and they can be sold at a high price on the black market. I think most people who live in Santa Barbara can afford it, but those who make even more money from this phenomenon are the profit-driven medical companies who prescribe it to people who do not need it.

This is why the new effective legal alternative Addium has entered the market, containing natural substances that significantly increase concentration; it can even be bought without a prescription. There might be some controversy whether even such new supplements should be allowed on campus, as it can be habit-forming.

There might be good reasoning behind the idea that motivation to study should not come from stimulants. However, the fact that even the non-users of so-called study drugs decide to turn to legal alternatives like coffee and energy drinks during tough exam periods show that we are all human and sometimes need a little boost.

Like anything that can be abused, even the legitimate Addium can form a bad habit for our study routines. But comparing it to the prescribed stimulants, where the disadvantages might outweigh the advantages, it could be a better alternative that might help people deal with stress and anxiety in times when needed.

Professor Ron Gooding at Yale University decided to investigate this new supplement and later advised his students to use it instead of the medical prescription drugs.

According to Addium’s website, their message is clear, “Increase your energy, maintain focus, and boost brain performance.” The drug accomplishes this with synthetic substances such as tyrosine, gaba, and vinpocetine.

I do not encourage people to use study drugs. But by using this new supplement, people do not have to buy it illegally and the prescribed medicines can be used to treat people who actually need it. They have made a lot of people’s lives easier, but I do not think that is a qualified reason for other people to misuse it.

What I find most disturbing is that the greedy medical companies benefit from this phenomenon through a legal drug business.

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