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Unformatted text preview: 46 contexts.org Its no wonder, then, some are tempted to enhance their academic performance with psychostimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall, with or without a doctors diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the condition the drugs are most often prescribed to treat. And its also no wonder that, among some of their peers, this is generally acceptable behavioreven when obtained illegally from friends, family, or Internet pharmacies. Nearly one in four college students nationwide have reported doing so. Psychostimulant use in conjunction with ADHD raises important questions about health, fairness, and the develop- ment of a persons identity, as well as safety, artificiality, and dependency. When we analyzed students experiences with prescription stimulants like Ritalin at a university in the northeastern United States, we gained a clearer picture of how and why students incorporate prescription medicine into their lives and identities, as well as the costs and benefits of the prescription of this generation. medication everywhere In Running on Ritalin , Lawrence Diller chronicled a white middle class suburban phenomenon as psychostimulant med- ication became one answer to behavior problems in the class- room. In 1998, more than 5 million children had prescriptions for Ritalin, a five-fold increase from eight years before, according to Diller. Its use continues as students age: National surveys report an increased prevalence of psychotropic medicationwith and without a prescriptionamong contemporary high school and college students. ADHD, previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is the most commonly diagnosed and treated childhood psychiatric problem in the United States, according to Diller. Nearly 8 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of 2003, 2.5 million children between ages 4 and 17 were being medicated for it, the centers have reported. White, insured children between ages 9 and 12 make up the highest prevalence group currently using psychostimulant medication in the United States, according to CDC. The picture is clearly gendered, as nearly 10 percent of 10-year-old boys in the United States use medication to treat ADHD while only roughly 5 percent of 10-year-old girls do, the centers have reported. In general, children are the largest market for these drugs, although this may change as the adult ADHD market expands. While the phenomenon is increasingly global, the United States consumes between 80 percent and 90 percent of the by meika loe U.S. college students today are among the first to be raised in a society where prescription drugs are an everyday commodity socially branded and advertised directly to consumersnot unlike cars and blue jeans. These students are also the products of the most intense competition ever for college admission....
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- prescription drugs, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, college students