Health + Wellness

Are Stimulants a Gateway Drug for College Students?

stimulant drugs

Stimulants, also known as uppers, is a drug that temporarily increases alertness and energy. The use of stimulant drugs among college students was once thought to be a problem among high achievers seeking energy and focus to study.

Not so, according to new research that links misuse of these so-called “study drugs” to binge drinking and marijuana use. The stereotype of students bumming a prescription medication like Adderall or Ritalin to study is off the mark, it suggests.

“Stimulant use may be a kind of catch-up behavior,” study author Ash Warnock, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, in Athens says. “Some studies have shown that students who party with drugs and alcohol on the weekends use stimulants like an academic catch up because they’re behind on their studies.”

Students who reported any alcohol or marijuana use were three times more likely to use stimulant  drugs— and more so if their use of pot and alcohol were frequent, the findings showed.

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Although the survey respondents were mostly white and in fraternities or sororities, this could prove to be a threat to all college students.

“It is important for universities to know that students who are involved with those kinds of substances are likely to be involved in prescription stimulants also,” Warnock says. “We need to be aware of the additive health effects of these behaviors.”

The report — recently published in the Journal of American College Health — suggests the drugs may be creating new problems for users.

Side effects of stimulants

“The fact is that these drugs don’t help you academically. It’s a subjective effect. You feel lifted. You feel up, and so, you feel like you might be more focused, but the research doesn’t show that. The research shows that people that do stimulants

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