Abuse of Adderall Can Happen at Penn Manor

By Mark Dano and Brandon Schuman –

Very powerful effects, from a very tiny pill.

Adderall is a prescription drug commonly used for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

But like any prescription drug, Adderall also can be abused.

“With this many kids in one spot,” said Penn Manor School Resource Officer Jason Hottenstein about Adderall abuse, “these types of issues are always going to come up.”

Penn Manor's stance on illegal use of prescription drugs displayed on a poster on Officer Hottenstein's door. Photo by Mark Dano

The drug can give a person an alert state of mind.  It also increases energy levels and gives the perception to some that a person taking it will perform at peak mental levels for an extended period of time.

A few Penn Manor students think it can help them succeed in class and on tests.

“It helps me focus on my work more and take good notes to later study off of,” said one Penn Manor student who did not want his name used.

While students notice the positive effects, there are many side effects that can seriously harm students.

“You can overdose,” said Penn Manor school nurse Anne Butterfield, “It can increase your blood pressure and that can lead to strokes, heart attacks and other serious effects.”

These side effects can occur even in young students.

“There have been cases where someone takes it and they are brought to us needing medical attention,” said Butterfield.

There are two different forms of the drug.  One is called instant release, which gives off more of a high.  The other is named extra release, or XR, which times the release of small amounts of the drug into the body after it is swallowed.

“I prefer the extra release because it lasts longer,” said one student who took Adderall although it was not prescribed to him.

According to WebMD.com, ADHD affects between 8 percent and 10 percent of school age children and adolescents.  That means about 1 out of every 10 students is affected by the disorder.

“It’s very accessible,” said another student. “It’s only $2-4 a pill depending on the provider.”

Students who used Adderall without a prescription said they bought the pills from other students who had a prescription.

Adderall is a pill which leaves no scent on the user and does not visibly impair the user like cigarettes, alcohol or marijuana.  Because of this, students said they worry little about teachers or the administration catching them.

“It’s very easy to get away with,” said a student.

Students are not allowed to bring Adderall to school unless it’s registered with the nurse. It doesn’t matter whether they are prescribed or not.

“It goes with the school’s Drug and Alcohol Policy,” said Officer Jason Hottenstein. “The student could potentially be up for expulsion.”

Adderall, when not used properly, can be a very dangerous drug.