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College students using meds to study?

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Around this time of year, you’re more likely to find college students in the library cramming for final exams than out partying. In an environment where the workload is endless and there’s always more to be done, a quick fix to help buckle down and power through becomes very tempting.

Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students — who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD.

“Our biggest concern … is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade,” says Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.

Full-time college students were twice as likely to have used Adderall non-medically as their counterparts who were not full-time students, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health report released in 2009.

The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and “elite” universities. Some researchers estimate about 30% of students use stimulants non-medically.

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