• September 23, 2019
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Leesville’s psychologist, Dr. Huber, weighs in on study drugs in high school:

What are some steps that the school would take if someone was abusing study drugs?

It is something that is looked at as a safety issue. Usually we start by talking with a students parents to make sure they are aware of what is going on and offer resources. SouthLight is a local organization that… provides drug counseling… as well as intervention and education, so that is a place we will refer families to. If it is something that a student has possession of at school, then that becomes an administrative issue that could result in disciplinary infractions. If the student has a substance at school that they are not supposed to have, they will be written up for a suspension and they will go through the ACE program. The ACE program teaches drug education, but that is typically done through SouthLight or other organizations. It depends on how we find out. If a student comes to student services and talks to us about it, then that’s when we talk to the parents and provide resources. If they have come to school and have already ingested something and start showing signs, that becomes a medical issue. In that case, we contact the parents and ask them to take their child to the hospital and if they can not be contacted then the school will call for an ambulance, because we don’t know how much they have taken. The student could be at very high risk, so we make that our first and foremost priority.

What dangers do you see associated with study drugs?

Anytime you take something and it is not prescribed by a medical doctor, you are at risk. Doctors take into account what other conditions you might have and what medication you might take. So anything you take that isn’t helping your condition will put your health at risk. Let’s say you’re taking cold medicine and you also take Adderall. You could be increasing your blood pressure or body temperature, and that could put you at risk. You have to be careful with what you’re taking, and that is why doctors need to see what you’re taking before prescribing. Often times, people who are taking drugs are also taking too much. That can cause more problems with blood pressure, your heart, and body temperature to the point where you could be at risk for having a stroke. In addition, people who don’t take the drug in the prescribed way, they’re not ingesting it, they’re actually snorting it or injecting it, and that is really dangerous. It has to do with how quickly it enters your bloodstream, which could actually cause permanent damage to your heart and blood vessels. The risk goes as high as death when taking the drug in that way.

Why do you think students would choose to take study drugs?

I think because of they way it is prescribed — it helps the people who need it focus and concentrate. Some students feel like, “Well, if it helps kids with ADHD focus, then it is going to give me that extra edge.” When in reality, studies have shown that it does not give you an extra advantage. Study drugs really only help out the people who are having trouble focusing and studying. But it won’t give others anything extra; the drugs will only bring kids with the ADHD back to the baseline. So some people think they’re getting an advantage and they will be able to think more clearly, when it really doesn’t. It is designed for people who have ADHD. It does provide some extra energy. So students take it when they need to stay up to study, but there are other things you can do that are not going to put your health at risk. If you’re having trouble and you need to stay up then think about getting into a better sleep pattern and eating healthy. Those are the kinds of things that will be beneficial and won’t leave you so tired before you actually take the test. The drugs really do more damage than good.

Are you seeing the use of study drugs in high school increasing?

Currently at Leesville, there is not much talk of that. I know nationally that it is on the rise in high schools. Compared to other drugs, study drugs are the second most commonly abused drug out there, which didn’t used to be the case fifteen years ago. On a personal level with Leesville, I don’t hear as much of it. So from that level, we are not hearing as much of it in student services. I am not quite sure if students aren’t talking to anyone about it or if we don’t have a very high rate here.

Anytime you take something and it is not prescribed by a medical doctor, you are at risk. Doctors take into account what other conditions you might have and what medication you might take. So anything you take that isn’t helping your condition will put your health at risk. Let’s say you’re taking cold medicine and you also take Adderall. You could be increasing your blood pressure or body temperature, and that could put you at risk. You have to be careful with what you’re taking, and that is why doctors need to see what you’re taking before prescribing. Often times, people who are taking drugs are also taking too much. That can cause more problems with blood pressure, your heart, and body temperature to the point where you could be at risk for having a stroke. In addition, people who don’t take the drug in the prescribed way, they’re not ingesting it, they’re actually snorting it or injecting it, and that is really dangerous. It has to do with how quickly it enters your bloodstream, which could actually cause permanent damage to your heart and blood vessels. The risk goes as high as death when taking the drug in that way.

It is something that is looked at as a safety issue. Usually we start by talking with a student’s parents to make sure they are aware of what is going on and offer resources… If it is something that a student has possession of at school, then that becomes an administrative issue that could result in disciplinary infractions… If a student comes to student services and talks to us about it, then that’s when we talk to the parents and provide resources. If they have come to school and have already ingested something and start showing signs, that becomes a medical issue… If [the parents] can not be contacted then the school will call for an ambulance, because we don’t know how much they have taken. The student could be at very high risk, so we make that our first and foremost priority.
Why do you think students would choose to take study drugs?

Some students feel like, “Well, if it helps kids with ADHD focus, then it is going to give me that extra edge.” When in reality, studies have shown that it does not give you an extra advantage. Study drugs really only help out the people who are having trouble focusing and studying. But it won’t give others anything extra, the drugs will only bring kids with the ADHD back to the baseline. So some people think they’re getting an advantage and they will be able to think more clearly, when it really doesn’t. It is designed for people who have ADHD. It does provide some extra energy. Some students may think it will help them stay up and study, but there are other things you can do that are not going to put your health at risk… The drugs, when abused or not taken for under the supervision of a doctor, can do more damage than good.

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