You don’t remember the last time you slept more than three consecutive hours, your hair is almost as much of a mess as your room and you feel a bond to group project members similar to a pirate captain and his sinking ship; you know it’s going down, but at least you’re going down together.
The library is cram packed with people just cracking open their books for the first time in the semester and the buzz of desperation is in the air. Caffeinated drinks flow like water as everyone collectively ditches every other aspect of their lives in a last ditch effort to save their GPA.
But for God’s sake, don’t try to bum prescription medication off of someone that actually needs it. Everyone knows someone with connections to prescription stimulants; whether they were a restless child and haven’t taken it in years, or if they take it every morning with their coffee just to get through the day. Every time you buy or sell prescription drugs, particularly those containing amphetamines, you make it a million times harder for actual patients to get access to it.
Every morning, I wake up and take Vyvanse. To get my medication, I had to go through a a series of medical professionals and tests, a lot of which were to prove that I wasn’t “faking it”. Every four months, I drive into my doctor’s office in a different city for an examination, so she can ensure that I’m not abusing my medicine. Every 30 days, I have to call through my doctor’s office, through the nurse, and get medical clearance to access something I’ve been taking since I was eight years old. And every finals week, I get asked to sell a couple of doses of my medicine for someone who is behind on their classwork.
My medication is made more expensive and harder to access because of its abuse. Every time a student is caught taking prescription stimulants to perform faster or better, another student who actually needs it has their access restricted. Nobody would dream of trying to squeeze drugs out of anyone with any other brain disorder, but for some reason, a lot of people see ADHD or ADD differently. It’s infuriating to have able-minded people try to abuse something that we need so desperately just so they can perform above average, when people like me are just trying to keep up.
I have a severe case of attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and honestly, it can be debilitating. What comes naturally for most people, even just maintaining eye contact, controlling basic impulses, remembering names, holding a full conversation or maintaining relationships can be very difficult. Over my lifetime, my self-esteem has paid the price for what feels like a flood of never-ending personal failures because of my disorder, especially in academia. I can’t tell you how many times they told my parents in student-teacher conferences about how I “am not using my full potential” after I skipped questions on a test, “didn’t pay attention to directions” when I couldn’t retain information, “wouldn’t sit still” as I kept shifting around in my desk or otherwise unintentionally inconvenienced a teacher with a part of me I’ve been fighting to control for my entire life.
Medication is the only way I can dream of functioning on an normal level. It’s not cheap, and it makes me a little sweaty, a little shaky and more than a little grumpy, but my medication is the only way I’m able to be a full-time student on a university level.
Taking prescription medication you don’t need is making it harder to access for people who need it.
Taking prescription medication you don’t need is telling everyone with that disease you don’t take their struggle seriously.
Taking prescription medication you don’t need is stripping someone of their dignity so you can start a paper you were assigned three months ago.