Sen. Schumer lays out plan to curb Adderall and Ritalin abuse among college students

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-16 18:35:02-04

NEW YORK (PIX11)– Steven Genao says plenty of his classmates at SUNY Plattsburgh use drugs like Adderall and Ritalin during finals.

“They say it helps them concentrate.”

But Genao says few if any of them use the drugs because they’re struggling with ADD or ADHD, the disorders these drugs are meant to treat.

“I don’t think any of them really need it.  I think they just use it because it helps them do their homework quicker.”

And that’s exactly the type of behavior Senator Chuck Schumer wants to end.

“Adderall, Ritalin, can be very useful drugs, and they help kids who have ADD.  The issue is they should be used under a doctor’s supervision,” Schumer said.

Schumer says between 15 and 35 percent of college students frequently use these drugs as a study tool.

Even using the conservative estimates would mean almost 65,000 college students are abusing the drugs in New York City alone.

“The alarming part is that recently college students are using Adderall and other amphetamine stimulants, and not under a doctor’s supervision, as a study drug.”

Schumer says the stimulants can become addictive and lead to depression, anxiety, and even psychosis, which is why he’s calling on the administration at SUNY, CUNY, and private colleges to create tougher standards.

Under the Senator’s proposal schools would only prescribe limited numbers of the pills, require a medical history of ADD or ADHD, and educate students about potential dangers.

By cracking down, Schumer hopes to prevent the abuse from spreading as it did for the popular painkillers Oxycontin and Oxycodone.

“They started out very legit, and they were prescribed too loosely and too easily, you could get them on the internet, and now we have an epidemic.”