Approximately 4% of teens and young adults misuse “study drugs” annually. “Study drugs” refer to prescription stimulants that physicians prescribe to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Among other side effects, these drugs can cause increased attention, alertness and energy.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, school-aged individuals take study drugs in an attempt to increase mental performance and boost memory. Many of these individuals do not have a prescription for said drugs but rather, receive them from peers. The consequences for both selling and taking study drugs without a prescription are severe.
Taking study drugs without a prescription is dangerous
Taking stimulants without a prescription or a doctor’s guidance can have severe and devastating consequences. The short-term effects — or, rather, those that individuals refer to as the “high” — include intense feelings of euphoria, quickened breathing, increased blood pressure, decreased blood flow and increased heart rate. If taken in high doses, the side effects can become exaggerated and lead to abnormally high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, seizures and heart failure.
If a person repeatedly misuses prescription stimulants, even if within a short time period, he or she may develop paranoia, aggression and psychosis. Repeated abuse can and has resulted in addiction.
The legal consequences for selling prescription stimulants
According to FindLaw, because of the risk of dangerous side effects that the misuse of prescription stimulants presents, the federal government classifies them as Schedule II controlled substances. Both cocaine and meth fall within this class as well. If a person is caught selling a Schedule II drug to a peer — or even if a person is in possession of a study drug but does not have a prescription — the state may dole our harsh criminal penalties.
The penalties for the illegal possession or distribution of prescription stimulants varies from state to state. However, common consequences include jail time and hefty fines. Many states also enhance penalties if the sale or possession occurs on a college campus.
In addition to jail time and fines, students caught with stimulants and without a prescription are at risk of losing their scholarships, federal student aid and loans. Some schools may rescind a student’s acceptance entirely.