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Buying ADHD Drugs to Study for College Is a Big Mistake

May 5, 2020

Maybe you waited too long to start studying for finals, and now you need to cram. Perhaps you have a huge project and you need to stay up all night to finish it. Many freshmen and sophomores struggle to adjust to the workloads in college. Concerns about failing a course or receiving a grade that results in a loss of a scholarship can drive students to make bad decisions.

One that remains all too common is the choice to use someone else's prescription medication to get your work finished. For years, many college campuses have seen a thriving unregulated market for many kinds of prescription drugs. ADD/ADHD medications are popular among students for a variety of reasons, but using them without a prescription could end your college career.

Possession of Controlled Substances Is a Crime

The law in Virginia is very clear about controlled substances. Only those with a valid prescription from a medical professional can legally possess them. Even then, the person with the prescription must use the medication as ordered by the doctor. Doing otherwise is prescription drug abuse and could result in criminal charges if you get caught.

Many students think that swallowing or insufflating Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta or similar drugs isn't a big deal. In reality, it's a serious crime that could result in jail time and loss of your federal student aid and scholarships. Contrary to popular opinion, these drugs won't enhance your intelligence or brain function. They simply make it easier to stay awake and focus.

Most ADHD Drugs Are Schedule II Substances

Under federal drug laws, every medication and illegal drug gets classified based on medical use and potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs have a high risk of addiction or abuse with no known medical uses. Schedule II drugs do have acknowledged medical benefits, but they also carry a high risk of abuse or addiction in users.

Most popular ADHD drugs are Schedule II stimulants. Virginia law is quite clear about even having these drugs in your possession without a valid prescription. Those caught buying or abusing ADHD medication could face a Class 5 felony charge. The consequences include between a year and a decade in prison and fines of up to $2,500. Some first-time offenders may receive lower sentences, but any conviction will result in the loss of the accused's driver's license.

Students Abusing Drugs Can End up Out of School

Federal laws prevent those with drug convictions from receiving federal student aid for school. Worse yet, those who end up convicted while in college could also lose private scholarships. In many cases, students will face disciplinary action from the college or university as well, up to and often including termination of their enrollment as the result of a drug conviction.