Watch Out, College Kids: Sen. Schumer Wants to Take Away Your Adderall



Human wet blanket Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told a CBS affiliate this week that he wants colleges and universities to crack down on Adderall use among students.

Adderall is an amphetamine-based stimulant that increases focus. Intended for people with ADHD, a lot of doctors will prescribe Adderall to just about anyone who claims to have trouble focusing at work or school. Minors use Adderall to get into the colleges their parents wish they'd gotten into. College kids use Adderall to cram for exams and bang out papers/bang out Powerpoint presentations/bang. 

Schumer thinks using Adderall to be better at something, as opposed to just be able to function, is "academic doping."

"There are better ways to pull an all-nighter and stay up," the senator told told CBS. "There's coffee, there's things like NoDoz." (But don't use the caffeine inhaler Aeroshot, because no one should be allowed to use drugs that Chuck Schumer himself did not use when he was a young man.)

Here's what Schumer wants New York schools to do:

For students diagnosed at a campus health clinic: Require formal contracts and follow-up diagnostics for that student; and require detailed medical, educational, and psychological history.

For students diagnosed outside of campus health clinic, and seeking to refill prescription: Require mental health evaluations with qualified health practitioner to verify diagnoses; and require parent, guardian verification of diagnoses.

Schumer also recommended offering short-term counseling, time management and procrastination workshops, and medication consultation to students with a prescription; instituting a program during freshman orientation informing students of the potential side-effects of stimulant abuse and its addictive nature and offering a list of community mental health professionals that can aid students in seeking the medication.

These rules are clearly meant to curb legal, responsible use. Why else require every student seeking an Adderall prescription to call their parents and see a mental health professional? Imagine if a college health center required female students to call their parents before they could get a prescription for birth control. Fewer female students would use it. The same would happen with Adderall. Students who have ADHD will be forced to jump through hoops; students who don't have ADHD will head off-campus or buy from the campus black market. 

For a thorough takedown of the mythology around Adderall (and who should be allowed to use it) see Jacob Sullum's April post, "An ADHD Diagnosis: The Difference Between Speed and Medicine."