SAN ANTONIO — With school starting back up, students, especially college students may come across illicit use of ADHD medications such as Adderall. Known as “study drugs,” they have become more prevalent at universities across the country. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a warning about these pills and the dangers associated with them.
"We still continue to seize a significant amount of fake or counterfeit Adderall that is pure methamphetamine," said Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the San Antonio district.
A study from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that took five years to conduct shows that the use of non-prescribed use of Adderall by young adults went up by 67% and emergency room visits went up by 156% over that time period. Some students said their illegal use of the stimulant is out of fear for their future if they won't do well in school. The DEA says the misuse of the drug on campuses not only can pose serious dangers, but there's a risk you're taking also that it could be fake Adderall.
"So someone who thinks they’re getting a legitimate pharmaceutical Adderall pill, odds are on the street right now it’s pure methamphetamine that they’re taking," said Sorianello.
According to a survey conducted by Ohio State University, seven out of 10 college students who use stimulants without a prescription said the drugs are easy to obtain, mostly from friends. One student said that their use of the drug was caused by the pressures of adult and college life. But the DEA says if these pills are not coming directly from a pharmacy, the dangers could be deadly.
"If someone is purchasing an opioid pill and it’s not a real opioid pill, it could potentially contain fentanyl and there you have the person who takes the one pill may be the first time and they never wake up again," said Sorianello.
Here locally, a UTSA lecturer was arrested and accused of making tens of thousands of fake Adderall pills. She was arrested in her north side apartment last December. The DEA says students are unknowingly taking counterfeit Adderall. While Narcan has been used by EMT’s to revive anyone who overdoses, the danger lies when you’re alone.
“Many times, the horror stories that you hear is a young adult says good night to his parents goes to bed, well no one has any more interaction with that individual at night and if by chance they may have taken some fentanyl no one will know till the morning and by that time it’s too late,” said Sorianello.
Addiction is another risk of these study drugs. The DEA says if you are caught selling or taking fake Adderall pills, you will be charged federally. In your neighborhood, on the streets, Fox San Antonio and the DEA will keep you informed and safe.