The Corner

Health Care

On (and about) ‘Study Drugs’

Over at the Spectator (U.K.), I have a piece about study drugs (i.e. amphetamines) on American college campuses. It’s entitled “American universities are fueled by amphetamines — so I tried them.”

I discovered that serious review of the literature, as well as the late father of the Attention Hyperactivity Attention Disorder diagnosis, psychologist Keith Conners, make clear that the population of affected children lies between 2 to 3 percent:

But in the 1990s, the combined effect of loosening the diagnostic criteria (so that exuberance, eccentricity and the ordinary struggles of day-to-day life were all potentially pathological) and allowing American drug companies to have another go at marketing amphetamines (which had been curtailed by regulation in the 1970s) created a perfect storm of supply and demand.

In addition, I spoke to around ten student users who detailed a range of experiences, including one young man who, after a head injury, ended up snorting ten times the standard daily dose and going to rehab.

And I also detail my own experience . . . After being diagnosed with ADHD, I was prescribed Adderall in what became an unblinded n-of-1 trial.

Read the piece and listen to the podcast with Dr. Barbara Sahakian to learn how it all turned out . . .

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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