You’ve always struggled with executive dysfunction, but your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stays pretty well under control as long as you take your medication.
Now that you’re in college, your medication has an unexpected side effect: It’s made you very popular. Your roommates and friends occasionally ask you if you have a “spare” pill to help them study.
Why do people who don’t have ADHD use the meds?
Many of the drugs used to treat ADHD, such as Adderall, function as stimulants that increase a patient’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels. For those with ADHD, this just corrects a previously existing hormonal imbalance. For people without ADHD, however, the excess dopamine often leads to higher energy levels and sleeplessness – which is why students often think of these as “study drugs.”
Is it really that bad to share your medication?
Federal law makes it illegal to dispense prescriptions without a license, so even if you give the drugs away (as opposed to selling them), you’re breaking the law. You can end up facing charges at either the federal or state level as a drug dealer.
In addition, if you give someone pills and they overdose, you could be facing additional charges. Nationally, there’s been a trend toward prosecuting people who share their drugs if it leads to a fatal or near-fatal overdose.
In short, the important thing to remember is this: Keep your prescription medication to yourself. If your medication does end up in someone else’s hands and you find yourself facing criminal charges, don’t say a word to the police before getting experienced guidance.