America the Beautiful: The A.D.H.D Era

To most, it’s no surprise that American children and young adults are over prescribed stimulants for so-called learning disorders like “Attention Deficit Disorder” and “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”. Aside from the fact that those disorders sound completely made up, they are coined by doctors as existing on a “spectrum”, which justifies the massive production and prescription of pills tailor made to give children the perfect dosage of pharmaceutical grade amphetamine their parents desire.

What makes this parental paradigm even more ironic is the fact that many students that don’t exhibit the supposed “symptoms” necessary to obtain a prescription for A.D.H.D. medication actively take these medications as performance enhancers in academic environments. If the smartest student in the room is taking the same medications the stupidest kid in the room is given just to keep up, then the performance gap will still exist.

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The prolific amount of amphetamines flooding college campuses every year can be seen in the street price of the drugs. Anecdotally, even the biggest doses of Vyvanse and Adderall sell for only $5 on large college campuses. On DNMs, a single 70mg Vyvanse has an average price of $30. While an entrepreneurial college student with steady access to these “study drugs” could make a killing using arbitrage, this stark price gap is proof that young Americans are pharmaceutically targeted with this drug. A generation of helicopter parents trying to give their kids a leg up only instigated further performance gaps as bright students took to using these study drugs as performance enhancers.

The DNMs, and grey net sites, along with PGP encryption and Bitcoin have aided the rise in “academic doping”. A non-amphetamine based drug, Modalert, has rapidly grown in popularity among college students. Vice recently interviewed four students that discussed how easy it was to order Modalert directly off gray net sites. One of their writers claims that it’s even better than Adderall, while another said it made them feel detached from people but addicted to work. What’s clear is that the A.D.H.D era is maturing into adulthood, and with that increasingly competitive millennial workforce many are turning to stimulants for performance enhancement. Without the darknet, and the ability for goods to be bought and sold openly, I doubt we would see such wide spread use of these “smart drugs”.

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Lets talk about something you might not already know. Modalert is the brand name for the drug modafinil. Modalert is manufactured by Sun Pharmacy, a drug manufacturer in India. Most DNM acquired Modalert likely passed through the hands of crooked employees at an Indian pharmacy or distribution center before finding its way to consumers. While these pills come in original packaging, and experience quality control, their quality lags behind American counterparts.

First, Indian Modalert comes in pill form, but deteriorates much faster than the American equivalent Provigil. Once removed from its original packaging, the pills leave a thin layer of white powder on anything them come into contact with.  This didn’t occur with the American equivalent. This is likely just a product of the pill pressing process. Second, a Vice reporter that documented his experience with Modalert reported red lumps similar to ant bites on random parts of his body. This is a confirmed side effect that only appears to be present in the Indian branded Modafinil.

As the rise in off-label smart drugs continues, it’s important to remain an informed consumer. DNMs actively sell street manufactured amphetamine sulfate, which is pressed to look like Adderall. Some vendors openly advertise them as fakes, while others don’t. Adderall has a specific ratio of active amphetamines (25% L-amp/75% d-amp), and when pharmaceutically produced it undergoes quality control to ensure an effective dosage. Street pressed amphetamine sulfate can contain contaminants and is nearly guaranteed to have a 50% L-amp/50% D-amp ratio, making it chemically identical to “speed”.

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The Telegraph reports, “’Smart drugs’ are becoming a staple of student life.” Over a quarter of all students surveyed said that they had taken or planned to take smart drugs during their tenure in college. Many of the surveyed students said that processing so much dense material in the spam of a 12-week semester, while judging life and work, means that taking smart drugs is a necessity. But, just like caffeine, a tolerance builds quickly, which can turn a crutch into a dependency.

 

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